The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Gridley, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony at the Port of Miami, in Miami, Fla.
Commander, U.S. Southern Command Adm. James Stavridis will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Cathy W. Forst will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her great-great grandfather. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
Designated DDG 101, the new destroyer honors Capt. Charles V. Gridley, U.S. Navy, (1844-1898), who commanded the cruiser the USS Olympia, which saw service from 1895-1922. The 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 the USS Olympia as war loomed with Spain. Then-Commodore George Dewey’s simple phrase permitting Gridley to open fire at Manila Bay, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” 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: a destroyer designated DD 92, which served from 1919-1922; a destroyer designated DD 380, which served from 1937-1946; and a guided missile frigate designated DLG 21, later reclassified to a guided missile cruiser with the hull number designation CG 21, which served from 1963-1994.
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., will become the first commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 292 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Gridley was built by Bath Iron Works, a company of General Dynamics, in Bath, Maine. The ship 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. The ship will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.