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News Release


Release No: 165-97
April 10, 1997


The Guided Missile Destroyer McFaul (DDG 74) will be christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss., during an 11a.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 12, 1997.

The ship is named in honor of Chief Engineman Donald L. McFaul, U.S. Navy (1957-1989) a native of Orange County, Calif. Chief Petty Officer McFaul gave his life for his comrades and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for service with Seal Team Four during Operation Just Cause in Panama, which drove dictator Manuel Noriega from power. While under heavy small-arms fire, Chief McFaul left the relative safety of his position with a single focus of assisting his wounded comrades. While carrying a seriously wounded platoon member to safety, Chief McFaul was mortally wounded by enemy fire. His heroic actions and courage under fire saved American lives and were an inspiration for other acts of heroism as the assault force prevailed in this decisive battle.

Senator Dan Coats of Indiana will be the principal speaker and his wife, Marcia Coats, will be the ship's sponsor. Matrons of Honor for the ceremony are Mrs. Shirley Lee, mother of the ship's namesake, Mrs. Debra McFaul Baker and Mrs. Candy McFaul Nelson, both sisters of the namesake. Brother of the namesake, Mr. Michael McFaul, will also participate in the christening ceremony. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Coats will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name McFaul.

McFaul is the 24th of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. 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 the national military strategy. McFaul 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. Bernard L. Jackson, USN, a native of Macon, Ga., is the prospective commanding officer of McFaul which has a crew of 21 officers and 322 enlisted. McFaul will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., following commissioning in 1998. 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 in excess of 30 knots.

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