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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 554-96
September 26, 1996

NAVY ANNOUNCES CHRISTENING OF COASTAL MINE HUNTER SHIP RAVEN (MHC 61)

The Osprey Class Coastal Mine Hunter Raven (MHC 61) will be christened during ceremonies at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 28, 1996, at Intermarine USA, Savannah, Georgia.

Admiral Leighton W. Smith, Jr., (Retired), former Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe/ Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Dorothy Smith, wife of Admiral Smith, will be the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Smith will break a bottle of champagne across the bow and formally name Raven.

Ships in the coastal minehunter class are named after birds. Two previous ships have been named Raven; a schooner (1813-1815) of the War of 1812 and a minesweeper (AM 55) (1940-1967) that earned three battle stars as the lead ship of the class of 93 fleet minesweepers which served in the U.S. and British navies during World War II.

Raven is the 11th 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. The ship's primary mission is reconnaissance, classification, and neutralization of moored and bottom mines in littoral areas, harbors and coastal waterways. 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.

Following its commissioning next year, Raven will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with Lieutenant Commander Sam Howard, a native of Mount Holly, New Jersey, as the commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in Ingleside, Texas, with a crew of five Officers, and 46 Sailors.

This ship measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 895 tons when fully loaded and is capable of reaching a speed of 12 knots.

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