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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 611-98
November 25, 1998

NAVY TO COMMISION AEGIS GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER

Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Donald Cook (DDG 75) will be commissioned Dec. 4, during a 1 p.m. (EST) ceremony at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, Pa.

  • Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, is the ceremony's principal speaker. Laurette Cook, widow of the ship's namesake, is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Cook will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
  • The ship honors Col. Donald G. Cook, U.S. Marine Corps (1934-1967), who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry as a prisoner of war. While assigned to the Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam, in Dec. 1964, Cook volunteered to conduct a search and recovery mission for a downed American helicopter. Ambushed on arrival at the site, he was wounded in the leg and captured. Despite enduring deprivation, exposure, malnutrition and disease, Cook committed himself to providing inspiration for his fellow prisoners to endure and survive during his incarceration in a prison camp near the Cambodian border. Resisting all attempts to break his will, he never veered from the Code of Conduct. He shared food, led daily exercises, provided first aid for injured prisoners and distributed what meager quantities of medicine were available, often surrendering his own rations and medicine to aid fellow prisoners whose conditions were more serious than his own. Reports indicate Cook died in captivity after he succumbed to malaria on Dec. 8, 1967.

Donald Cook is the 25th of 51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. These multi-missioned ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons systems, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward...From the Sea." The destroyer carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, as well as Standard missiles to intercept hostile aircraft and missiles at extended ranges. Both Tomahawk and Standard missiles are launched from forward and aft Vertical Launching Systems. Donald Cook is also equipped with the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System and Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, which are fired from stand alone launchers.

Donald Cook's multi-mission 5"/54 caliber gun can be used as an anti-ship weapon, close-in point defense or in support of forces ashore with naval surface fire support. Its undersea warfare suite is the most advanced system in the world. The Tactical Towed-Array Sonar provides long-range passive detection of enemy submarines. The hull-mounted sonar can detect and track submarines actively and passively.

Donald Cook will be commanded by Cmdr. James F. McCarthy of Milwaukee, Wis., and will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., as a member of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with a crew of 25 officers and 350 enlisted personnel. The ship was built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,580 tons when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.