FITZGERALD (DDG 62) AT NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
The U.S. Navy will commission the guided missile destroyer, Fitzgerald (DDG
62) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14, 1995, at Newport, Rhode Island.
Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island will be the ceremony's
principal speaker. Mrs. Betty Ann Fitzgerald, wife of the late Lieutenant
William C. Fitzgerald for whom the ship is named and the Fitzgerald's sponsor,
will attend the ceremony, as will The Honorable, Richard Danzig, Under
Secretary of the Navy.
The Fitzgerald is named for Lieutenant William Charles Fitzgerald who was
presented the Navy Cross posthumously for extraordinary heroism during combat
operations in Vietnam. On August 7, 1967, while serving as senior advisor to
Coastal Group Sixteen, Lieutenant Fitzgerald's base was attacked and overrun by
Viet Cong forces. Lieutenant Fitzgerald requested an artillery barrage be laid
down on his position and ordered his men to evacuate the base toward a nearby
river while he remained in a bunker providing fire. He was fatally shot by
Viet Cong forces before he could escape. Fitzgerald Hall at the Surface
Warfare Officers School Command in Newport, Rhode Island, also is named for
No previous U.S. Navy ships have borne this name.
Fitzgerald is the 12th of 32 Arleigh Burke Class ships authorized by Congress
to be built. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's 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 modernize the fleet. These versatile ships are
designed to operate independently or in support of aircraft carrier and
The ship is equipped to 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 weapon systems; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; one
five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems. Fitzgerald is 505 feet in
length, has a beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,500 tons fully
loaded. The ship will have a crew of 23 officers and 315 Sailors. Commander
Gary M. Holst, USN, a native of Middletown, New Jersey, will be the ship's
Media wishing to attend the ceremony should contact Mr. David Sanders, Naval
Education and Training Center, Newport, Rhode Island, at (401) 841-3538.