The U.S. Navy will christen Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Roosevelt (DDG 80) Saturday, Jan. 23, during an 11 a.m. (CST) ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
The ship honors 32nd President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962). Roosevelt served as the 12th assistant secretary of the Navy for seven years before being elected to the first of four terms as President in 1932. He guided the nation out of the Great Depression and through World War II. The first lady was known as a tireless worker for social causes, serving twice as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. She chaired the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and was entirely responsible for drafting the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. One previous U.S. Navy ship was named in the President's honor -- Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV 42) (1945-1977).
Adm. J. Paul Reason, commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, is the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Nancy Roosevelt Ireland, granddaughter of the ship's namesake, will serve as ship's sponsor and in the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break the bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship.
Roosevelt is the 30th 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. Roosevelt is equipped with the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System and Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, which have a range in excess of 65 nautical miles and are fired from stand-alone launchers.
Roosevelt's 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. DDG 80 features the over-the-horizon LAMPS MK III anti-submarine warfare control system. In its new configuration, the addition of an aircraft hangar accommodates two SH-60B Seahawk undersea warfare helicopters assigned to Roosevelt.
Cmdr. Matthew W. Bobola, a 1982 graduate of the University of Southern Calif., is the prospective commanding officer of Roosevelt. Following the ship's commissioning in the year 2000, it will be homeported in Mayport, Fla., with a crew of 340 officers, chiefs and enlisted personnel, as a member of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The ship, being built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., is 509.5 feet in length, and has a waterline beam of 66 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,204 ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.