The Department of the Navy will commission the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer Howard in a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 20, 2001, at 6 p.m. CDT at pier 27 in Galveston, Texas.
The ship is named in honor of Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard (1929-1993), recipient of the Medal of Honor for his leadership of a platoon against repeated attacks by a battalion-sized Viet Cong force. After receiving severe wounds from an enemy grenade, he distributed ammunition to his men and directed air strikes on the enemy. By dawn, his beleaguered platoon still held their position. Howard also received the Silver Star Medal for service in Korea. A previous Howard (1920-1945), named for Charles W. Howard, a U.S. Navy hero from the Civil War, earned six battle stars in World War II.
Texas Congressman Gene Green will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Theresa M. Howard, wife of the ship's namesake and Jill Hultin, wife of former Under Secretary of the Navy Jerry Hultin, will serve as ship co-sponsors. In the time-honored Navy tradition, the sponsors will give the order to "bring our ship to life."
Howard is the 33rd 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 Howard is to conduct sustained combat operations at sea. The ship is capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. It is equipped with the AN/SPY-1D phased array radar, the most powerful air search radar in Navy's inventory. The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Navy Cmdr. Joseph F. Nolan, a native of Massapequa Park, N.Y., is the commanding officer of Howard. With a crew of 340 officers, chiefs and enlisted personnel, Howard will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., as a member of the U.S. Third Fleet. The ship, built by Bath Iron Works, is 509.5 feet in length, and has a waterline beam of 59 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,238 ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
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