The newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Gridley, will be christened on Saturday, Feb. 11 during an 11a.m., EST ceremony at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
The new destroyer honors Capt. Charles V. Gridley, U.S. Navy, (1844-1898), who commanded the protected cruiser USS Olympia (C 6), which saw service from 1895-1922. USS Olympia was the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron at the Battle of Manila Bay, which took place on May 1, 1898 during the Spanish-American War.
Despite being terminally ill, Gridley insisted on retaining command of USS Olympia as war loomed with Spain. Then-Commodore George Dewey’s simple phrase permitting him to open fire at Manila Bay was, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” This phrase remains a famous moment in American naval history. Gridley died in Kobe, Japan, soon after the victory at Manila Bay.
Three previous ships have been named in honor of Gridley: Destroyer (DD 92) from 1919-1922; Destroyer (DD 380) from 1937-1946; and Guided Missile Frigate (DLG 21), later reclassified to Guided Missile Cruiser (CG 21) from 1963-1994.
The Honorable Delores Etter, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Cathy W. Forst will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her great-great grandfather. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break the bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship “Gridley.”
Designated DDG 101, Gridley is the 51st of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers. This highly capable multi-mission ship 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. Gridley will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Cmdr. Steve Shinego of Hallandale, Fla., is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 292 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Gridley is being built by Bath Iron Works, a company of General Dynamics, and is 509.5 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 32 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4