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Release No: 576-00
September 19, 2000


Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig has announced the decision to name the 42nd ship of the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers, "Momsen."

The name Momsen (DDG 92) will honor retired Navy Vice Adm. Charles Bowers "Swede" Momsen, who is best known for his efforts in the successful rescue of 33 crew members and the subsequent salvage of submarine USS Squalus after she sank in 240 feet of water in May 1939. He received a commendation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for these actions.

Born in Flushing, N.Y., on June 21, 1896, Momsen attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in June 1919. Initially serving on battleships, he graduated from the U.S. Submarine School in January 1922, and subsequently commanded three submarines from 1923 to 1927. While serving with the Submarine Safety Test Unit aboard the submarine S-4, he developed a submarine escape breathing apparatus that became known as the "Momsen Lung." He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for developing and personally testing the device at a depth of 200 feet. Although this invention made him famous, he had many other noteworthy achievements during his naval career.

While serving as officer in charge of Experimental Diving at the Washington Navy Yard, he developed a new set of decompression tables and supported proposals for the use of a helium and oxygen air mixture in deep diving operations. During World War II, he supervised tests to determine why many torpedoes were not exploding. In one instance, he dived into the water to help recover a dangerous, live torpedo that had bounced off a target. Momsen earned a Navy Cross as commander of an attack group of submarines in Japanese-controlled waters of the East China Sea. Using an attack pattern he developed, the submarines sank five Japanese ships and damaged eight others. He earned a Legion of Merit for commanding the U.S. Navy's first wolf pack in enemy waters from Feb. 1943 to June 1944. In November 1945, he directed a fleet of nearly 200 surplus Army and Navy ships, manned by Japanese crews, that evacuated the first of nearly six million Japanese from China Manchuria, Formosa and Pacific islands.

Momsen later served as assistant chief of Naval Operations for Undersea Warfare and then became Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet. Before retiring in September 1955, on the basis of combat awards, he was promoted to Vice Admiral. Momsen died May 25, 1967.

Danzig said, "Vice Adm. Swede Momsen personified the traits that we prize most in our naval leaders -- an innovative and sharp mind, a passionate spirit, and a profound caring for shipmates -- all of which came together in his success at pushing the Navy to new heights in technological and operational success. His extraordinary courage and achievements gave hope to a whole generation of mariners where there had been none before. His legacy is one that links all of us together and will live on in the namesake of this great ship."

Arleigh Burke class destroyers are equipped to operate with battle groups in high-threat environments and conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. They 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 into a single platform for unlimited flexibility and significant influence while operating "Forward...From the Sea." These destroyers 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.

The ship will carry Standard surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two torpedo launchers; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

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