News Release

No. 453-98
IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 28, 1998 (703)697-5737(public/industry)


The Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Decatur (DDG 73) will be commissioned during a 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, August 29, 1998, at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Ore.

Vice Adm. Edward Moore, Jr., Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Joan Shalikashvili, wife of former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, will serve as ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Shalikashvili will give the order: "Man our ship and bring her to life!"

Decatur is the 23rd of 51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. The high-tech 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. Decatur will operate with 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 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."

Decatur will carry Tomahawk cruise missiles and Standard missiles to intercept hostile aircraft and missiles at extended ranges. Both Tomahawk and Standard missiles will be launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems (VLS). Decatur is equipped with the Phalanx close-in-weapons system (CIWS). Decatur also carries Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles which have a range in excess of 65 nautical miles and are fired from stand alone launchers.

This ship will also be equipped with a five-inch, 54 caliber gun which can be used as an anti-ship weapon, close-in point defense or in support of forces ashore for naval surface. Decatur's undersea warfare suite is the most advanced system in the world. Its tactical towed-array sonar provides long range passive detection of enemy submarines.

Also equipped with hull-mounted sonar, Decatur is capable of detecting and tracking submarines actively and passively. Decatur also has the capability to land and operate theSH-60B LAMPS MK III helicopter, capable of conducting undersea warfare or over-the-horizon missions.

The ship is named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), famed for his raid to burn the captured U.S. frigate Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor in 1804. He later served with honor in command of the frigates United States and President during the War of 1812. His personal courage and decisive style of leadership earned him many honors and appointments throughout his life, including service on various courts of inquiry for naval affairs and a stint on the Navy Board of Commissioners. Decatur's prominent role in U.S. naval history is indicated by the fact that four previous ships were named in his honor: a sloop-of-war (1839); a torpedo boat destroyer (1900); and two destroyers, DD 341 (1922) which earned two battle stars in World War II, and DD 31 (1967) which earned eight battle stars in Vietnam.

Cmdr. Michael G. Knollmann, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, is the commanding officer of the ship. Decatur will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, with a crew of 21 officers and 322 enlisted personnel. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet and displaces approximately 8,884 tons when fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.