In front of more than 5,000
guests, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) hailed Northrop Grumman
Corporation and its Gulf Coast shipbuilders who built USS
Halsey (DDG 97) saying, "you should take great pride in your
contribution to our Navy and to our nation."
McCain delivered the principal address at the commissioning of
the U.S. Navy's newest Aegis guided missile destroyer at Naval Air
Station North Island in Coronado, Calif. The ship is the Navy's 47th
Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the 22nd ship built by Northrop
Grumman's Ship Systems sector in Pascagoula, Miss.
USS Halsey (DDG 97) honors Fleet Adm. William Frederick "Bull"
Halsey Jr., a World War I and World War II Naval hero who was present
when Japan formally surrendered on the deck of his ship, USS Missouri
(BB 63), on Sept. 2, 1945. After earning the Navy Cross for his service
in WW I, his carrier task force took part in the Doolittle raid on
Tokyo in WW II. Halsey took command of the Third Fleet in May 1945 and
through the end of the Pacific War. Promoted to the rank of fleet
admiral in December 1945, Halsey retired from active duty in March
1947, and died in August 1959.
"The name given to a warship has meaning far beyond what most
of us can understand," McCain said. "A warship creates and leaves a
legacy far into the future. In almost 230 years, the Navy has given us
many heroes deserving of this honor, but no name is more deserving of
this honor than Adm. Halsey. I am confident that the crew of this
destroyer are worthy of this great namesake."
"With this commissioning ceremony, William F. Halsey once again
officially returns to the Pacific Ocean," McCain continued. "And I
leave you today with the famous command of a fighting admiral, 'hit
hard, hit fast, hit often.'"
Three of Halsey's granddaughters are co-sponsors for the ship
-- Anne Halsey Smith, Heidi Cooke-Halsey and Alice "Missy" Spruance
Talbot. Talbot's daughter, Margaret, represented her mother at the
ceremony and, together with her aunts, made a call to "man this ship
and bring her to life." In response, the crew of 365 officers and
enlisted personnel took to the decks of Halsey and manned the rails.
Navy Rear Adm. Charles S. Hamilton, II, program executive
officer for ships, noted the process improvement strides made by the
shipbuilding team during the construction of Halsey saying, "It is the
collective faith, determination and heart of this team that has turned
concept into reality and brought this mighty ship to life. You build
great ships for a grateful nation and I could not be prouder of your
"Halsey has already begun her career leading from the front,
exceeding all cost, schedule and performance parameters," continued
Hamilton. "She went to sea two months early, delivering three months
ahead of schedule and well under budget. Her Aegis and generator
lightoffs were the best ever recorded in the history of the Aegis
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.
. James L. Autrey, a native of Moore, Okla., now
commands USS Halsey as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
"The practice of building a great naval vessel for our nation's
security can be readily summed up with the words pride, dedication,
quality, integrity, commitment and hard work," said Philip A. Teel,
president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "These words, individually,
conjure up wonderful imagery and stirring emotion. But when put
together and applied as human skill, they yield a whole greater than
the sum of its individual parts. That is the business we love to be in
– building great ships; building freedom."
"As stability returns to our Nation's shipbuilding plans we can
more confidently go about building the Navy's next Fleet," continued
Teel. "And I mean 'we.' Northrop Grumman is working every day with our
customers and the Congress to ensure that our seven decade long history
of building great ships on the Gulf Coast continues. We're ready to
build the next fleet and in fact we are building it right now."