The newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Farragut, will be christened Saturday, July 23, 2005, during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.
The ships name honors Adm. David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870). One of the Union's great heroes, Farragut gained fame for his exploits while in command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. In 1862, his ships fought past confederate forts to capture New Orleans, proving for the first time that cities could be taken by naval forces. In 1863 at Port Hudson, he gained control of the Mississippi river splitting the Confederacy. In 1864, he boldly led his squadron through a minefield to win the Battle of Mobile Bay.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs William A. Navas Jr. will deliver the ceremonys principal address. Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine will serve as ships sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship Farragut.
Four previous ships have been named Farragut: a torpedo boat (1899-1919); a destroyer (1920-1930); a second destroyer (1934-1945) that earned fourteen battle stars in World War II (including Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, Eastern Solomons, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa); and a guided-missile destroyer (1960-1989) that took part in contingency operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and earned a Navy Unit Commendation.
Designated DDG 99, Farragut is the 49th of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers. This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations in support of the national military strategy, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Farragut will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains a number offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Cmdr. Deidre L. McLay of Boulder City, Nev., will become the first commanding officer of the ship and will lead her crew of approximately 383 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200 ton Farragut is being built by Bath Iron Works, a company of General Dynamics, and is 509.5 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 32 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit the following Web site: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-dd.html.