Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen will introduce President Bill Clinton as the principal speaker at the commissioning ceremony of the Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The commissioning will take place on Saturday, July 25, 1998, during an 11 a.m. (EDT) ceremony at Pier 12, Norfolk Naval Base, in Norfolk, Va.
The carrier is named in honor of Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), thirty-third President of the United States. Among Truman's notable accomplishments were ending World War II; providing economic aid and assistance to devastated postwar European countries through the Marshall Plan; promising American support of free nations against direct and indirect Communist aggression under the Truman Doctrine; and establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Mrs. Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of the late president, is the ship's sponsor. Drucie Snyder Horton, serving as the ship's matron of honor, will give the traditional time-honored Navy order to "man our ship and bring her to life!" Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay L. Johnson are also scheduled to attend the ceremony.
Harry S. Truman is the eighth of ten Nimitz Class carriers currently authorized by Congress. Aircraft carriers are deployed worldwide in support of U.S. interests and commitments. They can respond to global crises in ways ranging from peacetime presence to full-scale war.
Following its commissioning, Harry S. Truman will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with Capt. Thomas G. Otterbein, a native of Bad Axe, Mich., as the commanding officer. Harry S. Truman will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., with a crew of 160 officers, and 3,200 Sailors. The ship is 1,096 feet in length, has a beam of 134 feet, a flight deck width of 252 feet, and displaces approximately 97,000 tons when fully loaded.
Two nuclear reactors and four steam turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots. The ship's armament includes four NATO Sea Sparrow missile launchers and four 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapons System mounts. An airwing of approximately 2,500 personnel will support the 80 aircraft onboard.
Those interested in attending or obtaining more information may contact Cmdr. Joseph F. Gradisher, (757) 444-3373.