The Department of the Navy will christen Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer Preble (DDG 88) Saturday, June 9, 2001, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Northrop Grumman Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
The ship is named in honor of Commodore Edward Preble, a pioneer in U.S. naval and merchant marine service who was born on Aug. 15, 1761, at Falmouth, Eastern Massachusetts, now Portland, Maine. In 1779, Preble was appointed to the Massachusetts State Marine, becoming an officer in the 26-gun ship Protector. When the ship was captured in 1781, he became a British prisoner and was held for a time on the prison ship New Jersey. Upon his release, Preble served on Winthrop and led a boarding party to capture a British brig at Castine and worked it out to sea despite heavy shore fire. Fifteen years of merchant service followed his Revolutionary War service and in April 1798, he was appointed 1st Lt. in the U.S. Navy. Commanding the 3rd Squadron in 1803, with Constitution as his flagship, he sailed for the Barbary Coast where he promoted a treaty with Morocco and established a blockade off Tripoli. Relieved in September 1804, Preble returned to the United States in February 1805 and became engaged in shipbuilding activities at Portland, Maine. Five previous ships have borne the name Preble.
Rep. Edward L. Schrock, of Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Connie Clark, wife of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, will serve as ship sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship.
Preble is the 38th ship of 58 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. These highly capable, 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. The mission of Preble is to conduct sustained combat operations at sea, providing primary protection for the Navy's aircraft carriers and battle groups, as well as essential escort to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and auxiliary ships, and independent operations as necessary. Preble will have capabilities in cooperative engagement and area theater ballistic missile defense and is capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Cmdr. Timothy Batzler of Baltimore, Md., and a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, will take command of Preble upon commissioning in 2002. With a crew of approximately 383 officers and enlisted personnel, Preble will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., as an element of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Preble, the 17th Arleigh Burke class ship built by Northrop Grumman Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., is 509.5 feet in length, has an overall beam of 66.5 feet, and a navigational draft of 31.9 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.