The U.S. Navy will commission Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, McCampbell on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2002, during an 11 a.m. PST ceremony in San Francisco at Pier 30.
The ship honors the late Navy Capt. David McCampbell (1910-1996). McCampbell is the Navy's top ace with 34 confirmed aerial victories and recipient of the Medal of Honor while serving as commander, Air Group 15, the USS Essex, during the Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19, 1944) and the Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 24, 1944). During the first encounter, McCampbell's force "virtually annihilated" an attacking force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft, of which he personally shot down seven. In the Battle of Leyte Gulf, he daringly attacked a formation of at least 60 Japanese land-based aircraft. McCampbell shot down at least nine of these aircraft, forcing the remainder to abandon the attack. In addition to the Medal of Honor, McCampbell received the Navy Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. No previous ship has been named McCampbell.
Dionel M. Aviles, assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will serve as ship's sponsor. Buffy McCampbell, wife of the ship's namesake, will serve as matron of honor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, they will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
McCampbell is the 35th of 58 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. These multi-mission ships can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the national military strategy. These combatant ships are equipped with the Navy's Aegis combat systems, which combines satellite-based communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward... from the Sea."
Construction of DDG 85 took place at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, starting with the ship's keel being laid on July 16, 1999. McCampbell was launched in July 2000, ran her first sea trials in January 2002, and was delivered to the Navy in March 2002.
Cmdr. Mark Montgomery, born in Washington, D.C., is the commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., with a crew of approximately 340. McCampbell is 509.5 feet in length, and has a waterline beam of 59 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,195 ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-dd.html.