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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 268-96
May 09, 1996

NAVY ANNOUNCES COMMISSIONING OF COASTAL MINE HUNTER SHIP BLACK HAWK (MHC 58)

The Coastal Mine Hunter Black Hawk (MHC 58) will be commissioned in ceremonies at 12 noon, Saturday, May 11, 1996, at Pier Two at the Naval Education Training Center, Newport, Rhode Island. Congressman Jack Reed of Rhode Island will be the principal speaker at the ceremony.

Black Hawk is the eighth of 12 Osprey Class ships authorized by Congress to be built. Ships of this class are the world's largest mine hunters to be constructed entirely of fiberglass and are capable of performing reconnaissance, classification and neutralization of moored and bottom mines in harbors and coastal waters. The ship is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns; a high definition, variable-depth sonar; and a remotely-operated, robotic submarine used to neutralize mines.

Coastal mine hunters are named for birds. Two previous ships have been named Black Hawk. The first, a steamer (1862- 1865), participated in the Vicksburg campaign as part of the Mississippi Squadron during the Civil War. The second, a destroyer tender (1918-1946), served 20 years in the Far East in addition to taking part in both world wars.

Lieutenant Commander Bruce W. Nichols, USN, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will take command of the Black Hawk with a crew of five officers and 46 sailors. The ship measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 895 metric tons when fully loaded. Black Hawk will be homeported in Ingleside, Texas.

Foe information related to the commissioning, Naval Education and Training Center point of contact is David Sanders, (401) 841-3538.

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