The newest Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, Shoup (DDG 86), will be christened Feb. 24, 2001, during a 10 a.m. EST ceremony at Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
The ship honors 22nd commandant of the Marine Corps and Medal of Honor recipient Gen. David M. Shoup (1904-1983) for his actions during the initial landings on Betio, Tarawa Atoll, in the Pacific on Nov. 20 to 22, 1943. While in command of the Second Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, he carried out his leadership duties and exposed himself to withering enemy fire despite suffering a serious, painful leg wound which had become infected.
Shoup received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Jan. 22, 1945, the citation read in part: "By his brilliant leadership, daring tactics and selfless devotion to duty, Colonel Shoup was largely responsible for the final decisive defeat of the enemy." He was also awarded the Purple Heart (oak leaf cluster), Legions of Merit with Combat V and the British Distinguished Service order. Shoup has been described as "the bravest Marine who ever wore the uniform."
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Shoup the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Later, he was known as President John F. Kennedy's "favorite general." When President Lyndon Johnson pinned the Distinguished Service Medal on Shoup in 1964, Johnson described him as "strong enough to prevent a war and wise enough to avoid one."
Shoup died on Jan. 15, 1983, at the age of 78. No previous Navy ship has been named for Shoup.
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. William A. Whitlow, director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Zola Shoup, widow of the ship's namesake, and Claudia Natter, wife of Adm. Robert J. Natter, commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, will both serve as ship sponsors. In the time-honored Navy tradition, they will each break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen Shoup.
Shoup is the 36th of 58 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress and the 16th of this class to be built by Ingalls Shipbuilding. These multi-mission ships can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the National Military Strategy. These combatant ships are equipped with the Navy's Aegis combat systems, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward... from the Sea."
Commander E. Bernard Carter, a native of Hopkins, S.C., is the prospective commanding officer of Shoup with a crew of approximately 383. Upon its commissioning in 2002, Shoup will be homeported in Everett, Wash., as an element of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Shoup is 509.5 feet in length, and has a waterline beam of 59 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,300 ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-dd.html.