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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 261-97
May 23, 1997

NAVY ANNOUNCES CHRISTENING OF COASTAL MINE HUNTER SHIP SHRIKE (MHC 62)

The Osprey Class Coastal Mine Hunter Shrike (MHC 62) will be christened during ceremonies at 9:45 a.m. (EDT), Saturday, May 24, 1997, at Intermarine USA, Savannah, Ga.

Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia will be the principal speaker.

Serving as ship's sponsor is Janet Gehman, wife of Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Gehman will break a bottle of champagne across the bow and formally name Shrike.

Ships in the coastal minehunter class are named after North American birds of prey. One previous ship (1955-1975) was named Shrike. Originally laid down as AMS-201, the first Shrike's classification was changed to MSC-201, a minesweeper.

Shrike is the last of 12 Osprey Class ships authorized by Congress. 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, Shrike will join the fleet with Lt. Cmdr. Henry D. Derbes II, USN, a native of New Orleans, La., as the commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in Ingleside, Texas, and has a crew of six officers, and 46 enlisted personnel.

Shrike measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 860 metric tons when fully loaded. Shrike is capable of reaching a speed of 10 knots.