News Release

No. 539-99
IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 18, 1999 (703)697-5737(public/industry)



The newest Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, HOWARD (DDG 83), will be christened Saturday, Nov. 20, 1999, during a 9 a.m. EST ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Alford L. McMichael will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Theresa M. Howard will serve as ship's sponsor in honor of her late husband. Her co-sponsor, Jill Hultin, wife of Under Secretary of the Navy Jerry Hultin, will join Howard in the time-honored Navy tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen HOWARD.

The ship is named in honor of Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard, (1929-1993), recipient of the Medal of Honor for his leadership of a platoon against repeated attacks by a battalion-sized Viet Cong force. After receiving severe wounds from an enemy grenade, he distributed ammunition to his men and directed air strikes on the enemy. By dawn, his beleaguered platoon still held their position. Howard also received the Silver Star Medal for service in Korea. A previous HOWARD (DD 179) (1920-1945), named for Charles W. Howard, a U.S. Navy hero from the Civil War, earned six battle stars in World War II.

HOWARD is the 33rd of 51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. Truly multi-mission combatants, these destroyers are the most capable surface warships ever built. These ships can conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the National Military Strategy.

Navy Cmdr. Joseph F. Nolan, a native of Massapequa Park, N.Y., is the prospective commanding officer of HOWARD. Upon commissioning in the year 2001, HOWARD will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., with a crew of 340 officers, chiefs and enlisted personnel, as a member of the U.S. Third Fleet. The ship, built by Bath Iron Works, is 509.5 feet in length, and has a waterline beam of 59 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,238 ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.