The U.S. Navy will commission Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, Shoup (DDG 86), on Saturday, June 22, 2002, during an 11 a.m. PST ceremony at Port Terminal 37 in Seattle.
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. 20-22, 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.
On Jan. 22, 1945, Shoup received the Medal of Honor for his actions. 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.
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. 13, 1983, at the age of 78. No previous Navy ship has been named for Shoup.
Gen. James L. Jones, 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps, 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, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, will both serve as ship sponsors. Matron of Honor, Lt. Col. Catherine Chase, USMCR, will represent her grandmother at the ceremony. Together, in the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Natter and Lt. Col. Chase will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
Shoup is the 36th of 58 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress and the 16th of this DDG 51 Aegis destroyer program to be built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. 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 satellite-based communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward... from the Sea."
Construction of DDG 86 began at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' Ingalls Operations on Nov. 10, 1998. The ship's keel was laid on Dec. 13, 1999, and she was launched on Nov. 22, 2000. DDG 86 sailed into the Gulf of Mexico for her first sea trials on Dec. 11, 2001. The ship was delivered to the Navy by Northrop Grumman on Feb. 18, 2002, and departed Pascagoula on April 22, 2002.
Following its commissioning, Shoup will join the U.S. Pacific Fleet with Cmdr. E. Bernard Carter, a native of Hopkins, S.C., as the commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in Everett, Wash., with a crew of approximately 383. 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.