The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Farragut, Saturday, June 10, 2006, during an 11 a.m. ceremony in Mayport, Fla.
Sen. Mel Martinez will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Sen. Susan Collins will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
The ship’s name honors Adm. David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870). One of the Union's great heroes, Farragut gained fame for his exploits while in command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. In 1862, his ships fought past confederate forts to capture New Orleans. In 1863, at Port Hudson, his forces gained control of the Mississippi River splitting the Confederacy. In 1864, Rear Adm. Farragut rallied his men to victory, shouting: "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” and led all but one of his 18 ships safely through the channel to win the Battle of Mobile Bay, one of the most celebrated victories in American naval history.
Four previous ships have been named Farragut: a torpedo boat, TB-11 (1899-1919); a destroyer, DD-300 (1920-1930); a second destroyer, DD-348 (1934-1945) that earned fourteen battle stars in World War II (including Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, Eastern Solomons, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa); and a guided-missile destroyer, DDG-37 (1960-1989) that took part in contingency operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and earned a Navy Unit Commendation.
Designated DDG-99, Farragut is the 49th ship of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers. This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations in support of the National Military Strategy, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Farragut will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains numerous offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Cmdr. Deidre L. McLay of Boulder City, Nev., will become the first commanding officer of the ship. The 9,200-ton Farragut is being built by Bath Iron Works, a company of General Dynamics. Farragut is 509.5 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, a navigational draft of 32 feet and a crew of 290 officers and enlisted personnel.
For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-dd.html.