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Release No: 272-95
May 18, 1995


The U.S. Navy will commission its newest guided missile destroyer, Russell (DDG 59) at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 20, 1995, at Naval Station, Pascagoula, Mississippi.

This ship is named in honor of Rear Admiral John Henry Russell, U.S. Navy (1827-1897), and his son, Major General John Russell, U.S. Marine Corps (1872-1947). The elder Russell distinguished himself during the Civil War in command of an expedition against a Confederate privateer at Pensacola. He also commanded the gunboat Kennebec under Admiral Farragut on the Mississippi, and commanded the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. His son served with distinction in Haiti as a junior officer. He later served as assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps where he oversaw the formulation of amphibious concepts that proved crucial in World War II. Appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1934, Russell emphasized development of the Fleet Marine Force and refinement of amphibious doctrine and techniques. Russell also commemorates the service of one previous ship of this name, destroyer DD 414 named for Rear Admiral Russell. That ship earned 16 battle stars in World War II.

Rep. James B. Longley, Jr. of Maine will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Brooke Astor, daughter of Major General John Russell and granddaughter of Rear Admiral John Henry Russell, is the ship's sponsor. Commandant of the Marine Corps General Carl E. Mundy will also speak.

Russell is the ninth of 32 Arleigh Burke Class ships authorized by Congress to be built. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward ...From the Sea." These new destroyers will replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to modernize the fleet. These versatile ships are designed to operate independently or in support of aircraft carrier and amphibious operations. The ship is equipped to carry Standard surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems, two fully automated radar controlled Phalanx close-in weapon systems, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, one five-inch gun,

and electronic warfare systems. Russell is 505 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,500 tons fully loaded. The ship will have a crew of 26 officers and 315 Sailors. Commander Peter H. Daly, U.S. Navy, a native of Chicago, Illinois, will be the ship's commanding officer.

Media wishing to attend the ceremony should contact Mr. Jim McIngvale, Director of Communications for Ingalls Shipbuilding, at (601) 935-3971.

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