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Release No: 400-96
June 28, 1996


The Guided Missile Destroyer Mahan (DDG 72) will be christened during an 11:00 a.m. ceremony Saturday, June 29, 1996, at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

The ship is named in honor of Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN (1840-1914) who served with the union's blockading squadrons during the Civil War, and for two terms as President of the Naval War College. Admiral Mahan is a renowned U.S. Naval theoretician and is best known as the author of the book Influence of Sea Power on History, which with his other scholarly works, continues to influence strategic and geopolitical thinking throughout the world.

Three previous ships have borne this name. The first Mahan (DD 102) (1918-1930) served in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The second, (DD 364) (1936-1944), earned five battle stars in World War II before being sunk by kamikaze aircraft. The third Mahan (DLG 11/ DDG 42) (1960-1993) served off Lebanon and Libya and earned twelve battle stars in Vietnam.

The Honorable Ike Skelton, Representative of Missouri, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Jennie Lou Arthur, wife of Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, USN (Retired), is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored tradition, Mrs. Arthur will break a bottle of champagne across the bow and formally name Mahan. Distinguished guests attending the ceremony will include Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and William S. Cohen, and Maine Congressman James B. Longley, Jr.; the Honorable Deborah P. Christie, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller); and Vice Admiral George R. Stearner, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C.

Mahan is the 22nd of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress to be built. Aegis destroyers are equipped to conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. Mahan will operate with aircraft carriers and battle groups in high-threat environments and will also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.

These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern 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 recapitalize the fleet. Mahan will 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 weapons systems; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

Commander Michael L. James, a native of DeGraff, Ohio, will be the prospective Commanding Officer of the ship which has a crew of 26 Officers and 330 Sailors. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 9,033 tons when fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

For information related to the christening, contact Mrs. Patricia Cavender, Public Affairs Officer at Bath Iron Works at (207) 442-2946.

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