The U.S. Navy will commission its newest coastal mine hunter ship Raven (MHC 61) at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, during a 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, Sept. 5, 1998.
Raven is the 11th ship of the 12 Osprey class coastal mine hunters, which are named for birds of prey. Osprey class ships are the world's largest mine hunters to be constructed entirely of fiberglass and designed to survive the shock of underwater explosions. Raven's primary mission is reconnaissance, classification, and neutralization of all types of moored and bottom mines in littoral areas, harbors and coastal waterways. It is equipped with a high definition, variable-depth sonar, and a remotely-operated, robotic submarine used to neutralize mines. The ship is also armed with two .50 caliber machine guns.
- Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland will deliver the ceremony's principal address.
- Mrs. Dorothy McDowell Smith, wife of retired Adm. Leighton "Snuffy" Smith Jr., former commander in chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe/commander in chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe, is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Smith will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
- Two previous ships have been named Raven; a schooner (1813-1815) during the War of 1812 and a minesweeper (AM 55) (1940-1967) that earned three battle stars as the lead ship of the class of 93 fleet minesweepers which served in the U.S. and British navies during World
- War II.
Following its commissioning, Raven will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with Lt. Cmdr. Sam Howard, a native of Mount Holly, N. J., as commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in Ingleside, Texas, with a crew of six officers, and 46 enlisted. Propelled by two 800-hp turbocharged V-8 engines, the ship is capable of reaching a speed of 12 knots. The Raven measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 914 tons when fully loaded.
Point of contact for more information is Qula Norman at (703) 695-5471.