Guided Missile Destroyer O'KANE (DDG 77) will join the U.S. Pacific Fleet Oct. 23, during a 10 a.m., (Hawaii Standard Time), commissioning ceremony in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Retired Navy Captain Edward L. Beach, a highly decorated and record setting World War II veteran and national best selling author, is the ceremony's principal speaker. In the time-honored Navy tradition, the ship's sponsor, Mrs. Leslie Allen Berry, granddaughter of the ship's namesake, will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!" Rear Adm. O'Kane's widow, Mrs. Richard H. O'Kane, will serve as Matron of Honor.
The ship honors Rear Adm. Richard H. O'Kane (1911-1994), a native of Dover, N.H., who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his daring attacks on two Japanese convoys while in command of the submarine USS TANG (SS 306) in 1944. Under his command, TANG went on five war patrols, sinking a total of 31 ships and damaging two other ships - a record unsurpassed by any American submarine. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Rear Adm. O'Kane was awarded three Navy Crosses, three Silver Star Medals, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", and the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medals.
O'KANE is the 27th of 51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently under contract. AEGIS destroyers are equipped to conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. O'KANE will operate with battle groups in high-threat environments and will also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.
These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern AEGIS combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward...From the Sea." These new destroyers will replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet. O'KANE will carry Standard surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar-controlled Phalanx close-in weapons systems; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; two torpedo launchers; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.
Cmdr. David C. Hulse, a native of Princeton, N.J., will command O'KANE. With a crew of 25 officers and 330 enlisted personnel, O'KANE will be homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. O'KANE is the 16th destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class to be built at Bath Iron Works. O'KANE is 504 feet overall in length, has a waterline length of 466 feet, an extreme beam of 66 feet and a waterline beam of 59 feet. The ship's dead weight is 2,330 tons and displaces approximately 8,930 tons when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.