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Ingalls-Built Aegis Destroyer, Stethem, Commissioned

DDG 63, USS Stethem — the sixth DDG 51 class Aegis guided missile destroyer built for the U.S. Navy by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries — was commissioned and reported for Pacific Fleet duty at ceremonies held at the Naval Construction Battalion (Seabee) Center at Port Hueneme, Calif. Commander Steven C. Miller, USN, will assume command of the new ship, which will be homeported in San Diego. DDG 63 is the 13th destroyer in the DDG 51 class, and the sixth to be delivered by Ingalls, of 14 under contract. Fabrication work began in May 1992, keel was laid in May 1993, launching took place in June 1994, and the vessel was christened Stethem in July 1994.

The vessel was named to honor the life and service of Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem, USN (1961 -1985). Steelworker Second Class (DV) Stethem, a Seabee and a Navy diver, was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for bravery and heroism as a victim of the terrorist hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847 to Beirut, Lebanon, in June 1985.

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