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Release No: 748-03
October 14, 2003

Navy Commissions New Guided Missile Destroyer Chafee

            The newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Chafee, will be commissioned Saturday, Oct. 18, 2003, during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony in Newport, R.I.


            The ship honors John Hubbard Chafee of Providence, R.I.  Chafee distinguished himself as a U.S. senator, Navy secretary, Rhode Island governor, and a Marine -- with service as both an enlisted man and commissioned officer.


            Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, will deliver the ceremony's principal address.  Serving as co-sponsors for the ship will be Virginia Chafee, wife of the ship's namesake and Diane Blair, wife of retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair, former commander, U.S. Pacific Command.  In the time-honored Navy tradition of commissioning U.S. naval ships, the co-sponsors will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”


            Chafee is the 40th ship of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress.   This highly capable multi-mission ship 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.  Chafee will be 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. John W. Ailes of New London, Conn., will become the ship’s first commanding officer.  Chafee will be homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and will have a crew of approximately 30 officers and 355 enlisted.  Built by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, the 9,100-ton Chafee is 511 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, an overall beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 33 feet.  Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds of more than 30 knots.


            For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-dd.html.

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