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Release No: 217-96
April 18, 1996


The Guided Missile Destroyer Ross (DDG 71) will be christened in ceremoniesat

11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 20, 1996, at Ingalls Shipbuilding facilities on thewest bank of the Pascagoula River, Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The new destroyer is named in honor of Captain Donald K. Ross, awarded theMedal of Honor during World War II. During the December 7, 1941 bombing ofPearl Harbor, Hawaii, Ross, then a junior warrant officer and machinist servingonboard the battleship USS Nevada

(BB 36), disregarding his own life, ordered all other crewmen out after severalbombs hit

USS Nevada's engineering spaces. He remained alone to operate the ship'smachinery in

the smoke-filled compartment. This selfless act made it possible for the USSNevada to get underway despite the Japanese air attack.

Serving as ship's sponsor, Mrs. Helen Lou Ross will christen the ship in honorof her

late husband. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break a bottle ofchampagne across

the bow to formally name the ship.

Rear Admiral Larry R. Marsh, USN, Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel,and a close friend of the ship's namesake and sponsor, will be the ceremony'sprincipal speaker. Rear Admiral George A. Huchting, Aegis Program Manager, andMr. Jerry St. Pe', President, Ingalls Shipbuilding and Senior Vice President,Litton Industries, will also attend the ceremony.

Ross is the 21st of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized byCongress. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegiscombat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar andweapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility whileoperating "Forward...From the Sea." These new destroyers will replace older,less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reducesspending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalizethe fleet. These versatile ships are designed to operate independently or insupport of aircraft carrier and amphibious operations.

The ship is equipped to carry Standard surface-to-air-missiles and Tomahawkcruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; twofully automated, radar- controlled Phalanx close-in weapon systems; Harpoonanti-ship missiles; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

Following commissioning in 1997, Ross will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, withCommander Jeffery R. Ginnow, U.S. Navy, a native of Hondo, Texas, as theprospective Commanding Officer. The ship will be homeported in Mayport,Florida, with a crew of 26 officers, and 330 enlisted personnel. The ship is505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately8,850 tons fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds inexcess of 30 knots.

For information related to the commissioning, contact Mr. Jim McIngvale,Director of Communications, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi at(601) 935-3971.

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