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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 509-95
September 18, 1995

NAVY TO COMMISSION MINEHUNTER

IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

The U.S. Navy's newest costal minehunter, Oriole (MHC 55), will be commissioned at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 16, 1995, at the Harborplace Amphitheater in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes and Representative Benjamin Cardin will also speak. Baltimore Oriole baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and his wife Barbara, who christened the ship in May 1993, will be present at the ceremony.

Named for the Maryland State bird, four previous ships have been named Oriole: a Civil War sternwheel gunboat; a 15-gun sloop that served in the Maryland Naval Militia (1904-1906); a minesweeper (AM 7) (1918-1946) that participated in the clearing of the World War II North Sea mine barrage; and a coastal minehunter (AMCU) (ex-LCI(L) 973) (1952-1955).

Oriole is the fifth of 12 Osprey Class ships authorized by Congress to be built. The ship's primary mission is reconnaissance, classification, and neutralization of moored and bottom mines in harbors and coastal waterways. The ship is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns, a high definition, variable depth sonar, and a remotely operated robotic submarine used to neutralize mines. Oriole measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 895 tons. The ship will carry a crew of five officers and 46 Sailors. Lieutenant Commander Peter F. Grause, USN, a native of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, will be the ship's commanding officer.

Media wishing to attend the ceremony should arrive at the Harborplace Amphitheater by 9:30 a.m. For more information, contact LT Karl Johnson, Naval District Washington Public Affairs, at (202) 433-2218.

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