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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 138-98
March 27, 1998

NAVY TO CHRISTEN AEGIS GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER

The U.S. Navy will christen the AEGIS Guided Missile Destroyer O'Kane (DDG 77) on Saturday, March 28, 1998, during a noontime ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

O'Kane is the 27th of 51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently under contract. 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. O'Kane will operate with 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. O'Kane 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; two torpedo launchers; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

  • The ship is named in honor of Dover, N.H. native, Rear Adm. Richard H. O'Kane, USN (1911-1994), who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his daring attacks on two Japanese convoys while in command of the submarine Tang (SS 306) in 1944. In addition to the Medal
  • of Honor, Rear Adm. O'Kane was awarded three Navy Crosses and three Silver Star medals.

Rep. Thomas H. Allen of Maine will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Leslie Allen Berry, granddaughter of the ship's namesake is the ship's sponsor. Adm. O'Kane's widow, Mrs. Richard H. O'Kane, will fill the role of Matron of Honor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Allen Berry will break a bottle of champagne across the bow and formally name O'Kane.

Cmdr. David C. Hulse, a native of Princeton, N.J., is the prospective commanding officer of the ship with a crew of 25 Officers and 330 Sailors. Following its commissioning, O'Kane will be homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet and displaces approximately 8,800 tons when fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.