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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 582-96
October 10, 1996

GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER GONZALEZ (DDG 66) TO BE COMMISSIONED AT NAVAL STATION, INGLESIDE, TEXAS

The Guided Missile Destroyer Gonzalez (DDG 66) will be commissioned during a 2:00 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, October 12, 1996, at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas.

The ship is named in honor of Sergeant Alfredo Gonzalez, (1946-1968), U.S. Marine Corps, who was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for conspicuous courage and dynamic leadership of his unit during the Vietnam War.

The Honorable John H. Dalton, Secretary of the Navy, will be the principal speaker for the ceremony. Mrs. Dolia Gonzalez, the ship's sponsor, will commission the ship named for her son. She will give the first order to man our ship and bring her to life.

Distinguished guests attending the ceremony will include: Texas Congressional representatives, Kika de la Garza and Solomon Ortiz; the Honorable Joe Ochoa, Mayor of Edinburg, Texas; Vice Adm. Douglas J. Katz, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Vice Adm. Alexander J. Krekich, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Rear Adm. George A. Huchting, Program Executive Officer for Surface Combatants/AEGIS Program; Rear Adm. Dennis R. Conley, Commander Mine Warfare Command; Maj. Gen. Ray L. Smith, Deputy Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force; Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer (Retired), Father of AEGIS; Mr. Allan Cameron, President, Bath Iron Works; and Mr. Joseph T. Threston, President, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Government Electronic Systems.

Gonzalez is the 16th of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress to be built. These multi-missioned ships are equipped with the Navy's modern AEGIS combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating Forward...From the Sea.

Aegis destroyers are equipped to conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. Gonzalez will operate with aircraft carriers and battle groups in high-threat environments and will also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys. The ship will carry Standard surface- to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar-controlled Phalanx close-in weapons systems; Harpoon anti- ship missiles; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

Following its commissioning, Gonzalez will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with Cmdr. Frederick D. Allard, Jr., a native of Fort Belvoir, Va., as the commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., with a crew of 26 officers, 24 chief petty officers, and 291 sailors. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,422 tons when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds of 20 knots.

For information related to the commissioning, contact Lt. Ingrid Mueller, Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, at (512) 776- 4206.

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