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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 336-96
June 06, 1996

DOCK LANDING SHIP OAK HILL (LSD 51) TO BE COMMISSIONED AT NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

The Dock Landing Ship Oak Hill (LSD 51) will be commissioned in a ceremony at 10:00 a.m., on Saturday, June 8, 1996, at Navy Landing, Woldenberg Park, New Orleans, La.

The Honorable Frederick C. Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Sandi Boomer, wife of General Walter E. Boomer, United States Marine Corps, Retired, is the ship's sponsor and will give the order to man our ship and bring her to life.

Rear Admiral Wirt R. Fladd, Commander Amphibious Group TWO/Commander Amphibious Striking Force, and Rear Admiral Paul M. Robinson, Program Executive Officer for Carriers, Littoral Warfare and Auxiliary Ships, Naval Sea Systems Command, will be among the distinguished guests attending the ceremony.

Oak Hill honors the Loudoun County, Virginia home of President James Monroe. One previous ship named Oak Hill, also a dock landing ship (LSD 7), earned five battle stars for her World War II service and six for her service in Vietnam.

Ships of this class are vital to the U.S. Navy's strategic doctrine of forward presence and rapid deployment of troops and heavy equipment to remote and distant shores, Forward...From the Sea. Oak Hill's mission is to transport Marines with their associated combat equipment, and launch pre-loaded assault landing craft and helicopters during amphibious operations against hostile shores. Oak Hill carries Air Cushion Landing Craft (LCAC) vehicles, which are assault landing craft capable of exceeding 40 knots while carrying a 60-ton payload.

Oak Hill is the Navy's fourth Whidbey Island Class Dock Landing Ship, built with the cargo variant configuration, which provides additional space for Marine Corps equipment. The ship is 609 feet in length, has a beam of 84 feet and will displace approximately 17,000 tons when fully loaded. Commander Michael A. Durnan of Woodbridge, Virginia, is the commanding officer of the ship with a crew of 22 Officers and 397 Sailors and is equipped to carry 504 Marine troops.

The point of contract for information related to the commissioning is Lieutenant. D. L. Wilburn, Jr., (504) 558-0627, 0576, or 0552.

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