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News Release


Release No: 560-95
October 19, 1995



The U.S. Navy will commission the guided missile destroyer, Stethem (DDG 63) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 21, 1995, at Port Hueneme, California.

The Honorable Steven S. Honigman, General Counsel of the Navy, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Patricia Stethem, mother of the ship's namesake and its sponsor, will attend the ceremony. Other distinquished guests at the ceremony will include Representative Elton W. Gallegly; The Honorable Toni Young, Mayor of Port Hueneme; Vice Admiral David B. Robinson, Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific; and Rear Admiral David J. Nash, Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers.

The Stethem is named in honor of Petty Officer Second Class Robert Dean Stethem (1961-1985), posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for heroism exhibited when he and other passengers and crew of Trans World Airlines flight 847 were taken hostage by terrorists at Athens, Greece on June 14, 1985. Petty Officer Stethem was subsequently killed by the terrorists while the aircraft was on the ground in Lebanon.

Petty Officer Stethem's family has a long and proud naval history, with both parents and two brothers having served or currently serving in the U.S. Navy.

Stethem is the 13th of 32 Arleigh Burke Class ships authorized by Congress to be built. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's 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. Stethem is 505 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,600 tons fully loaded. The ship will have a crew of 23 officers and 315 Sailors.

Commander Steven C. Miller, USN, of San Diego, California, will be the ship's commanding officer.

Media wishing to attend the ceremony should contact Linda Wadley, Naval Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, California, at (805) 982-2056.

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