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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 270-99
May 27, 1999

NAVY TO COMMISSION COASTAL MINE HUNTER SHRIKE (MHC 62) MEMORIAL DAY IN BATON, ROUGE, LA.

The U.S. Navy will commission its newest Osprey class coastal minehunter SHRIKE (MHC 62) during a 10 a.m. (EDT) ceremony on Monday, May 31, at the City Dock in Baton Rouge, La.

Vice Adm. Henry C. Giffin III, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, will be the principal speaker. Mrs. Janet Gehman, wife of Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., the commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Gehman will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

Ships in the coastal minehunter class are named after North American birds. SHRIKE is the last of 12 Osprey class ships to be built. One previous ship, a wooden hulled coastal minesweeper (1955-1975), was named SHRIKE.

Osprey class ships are the world's largest minehunters to be constructed entirely of fiberglass and designed to survive the shock of underwater explosions. The ship's primary mission is reconnaissance, classification and neutralization of moored and bottom mines in littoral areas, harbors and coastal waterways. The ship is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns and is equipped with a high-definition, variable-depth sonar, and a remotely-operated, robotic submarine used to neutralize mines.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Henry D. Derbes II, a native of Baton Rouge, La., is SHRIKE's commanding officer of a crew of five officers and 46 enlisted personnel. SHRIKE joins the U.S. Fleet as part of the Navy's Mine Warfare Command and will be homeported at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas. The ship was built by Intermine USA in Savannah, Ga., and measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 860 metric tons when fully loaded. The ship is propelled by two 800 horsepower, turbocharged V-8 engines, and are capable of reaching a speed of 12 knots.

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