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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 059-98
February 06, 1998

NAVY TO COMMISSION AEGIS GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER MAHAN (DDG 72)

The U.S. Navy will commission the Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Mahan (DDG 72) on Saturday, Feb. 14, 1998, during a noon ceremony in Tampa, Fla.

Mahan is the 22nd of 34 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 national military strategy. Mahan 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-mission 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." These new destroyers will replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet. Mahan 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 L. James, a native of DeGraff, Ohio, is the commanding officer of the ship. Mahan will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., with a crew of 26 officers and 330 sailors. 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.

The ship is named in honor of Rear Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN (1840-1914) who served with the Union's blockading squadrons during the Civil War, and for two terms as president of the Naval War College. Adm. Mahan is a renowned U.S. Naval theoretician and is best known as the author of the book "Influence of Sea Power on History," which with his other scholarly works, continues to influence strategic and geopolitical thinking throughout the world.

Mrs. Jennie Lou Arthur, wife of Adm. Stanley R. Arthur, USN (Retired), is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Arthur will give the order: "man our ship and bring her to life!"

For information related to the commissioning, contact Capt. William Armstrong Jr., or Capt. David Snyder, at (813) 303-5713.