The Guided Missile Destroyer Decatur (DDG 73) will be
christened during a 10:15 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 9,
1996, at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.
The ship is named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur
(1779-1820), famed for his raid to burn the captured U.S. frigate
Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor in 1804. He later served with
honor in command of the frigates USS United States and USS
President during the War of 1812. Four previous ships were named
in his honor, a sloop-of-war and three destroyers spanning the
period from 1840 to 1983. The third Decatur (DD 341) earned two
battle stars in World War II; the fourth (DDG 31) earned eight
battle stars in Vietnam.
General John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of
Staff, will be the ceremony's principal speaker and his wife,
Mrs. Joan Shalikashvili, will be the ship's sponsor. In the time-
honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Shalikashvili will break a bottle of
champagne across the bow to formally name Decatur.
Distinguished guests attending the ceremony will include
Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe; Maine congressmen James Longley, Jr.
and John E. Baldacci; the Honorable Deborah P. Christie,
assistant secretary of the navy (fnancial management); Adm.
Harold W. Gehman, Jr., vice chief of naval operations; Rear Adm.
George A. Huchting, program executive officer for surface
combatants/AEGIS programs; Rear Adm. Malcolm I. Fages, commander
Group TWO; Rear Adm. Paul M. Robinson, vice commander, Naval Sea
Systems Command; Mr. Allan Cameron, president and chief executive
officer, Bath Iron Works Corporation; and Mrs. Lucy Mustin,
president, Society of Sponsors.
Decatur is the 23rd of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers
currently authorized by
Congress to be built. 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. Decatur 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.
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. 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.
Cmdr. Michael G. Knollmann, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio,
is the prospective commanding officer of Decatur, which has a
crew of 21 officers and 322 enlisted. The ship
is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and
displaces approximately 9,033 tons
when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to
speeds of 30 knots.