The latest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Sampson (DDG 102), will be christened Sept. 16 during a ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.
The ship is named in honor of Rear Adm. William Thomas Sampson (1840-1902), a naval hero in the Spanish-American War. After graduating first in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1861, Sampson served in the Civil War, during which he survived a mine explosion in 1865. When the United States declared war against Spain following the sinking of the battleship Maine, Sampson assumed command of the U.S. North Atlantic Squadron with the rank of rear admiral. Sailing from Key West, Fla., in 1898, aboard USS New York
(CA 2), his squadron established a blockade on the Spanish Fleet in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba. When the Spanish fleet attempted escape, it was completely destroyed by Sampson’s forces in a running sea battle that lasted five hours. The next day, Sampson sent the now famous message: “The Fleet under my command offers the nation as a Fourth of July present, the whole of Cervera's Fleet!”
Sampson retired as commandant of the Boston Navy Yard in 1902. Three previous ships have carried this name: Torpedo-boat destroyer 63, Somers-class destroyer 394 and Charles F. Adams-class guided-missile destroyer 10.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Clara Parsons, great granddaughter of Sampson, will serve as ship’s sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break the bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship “Sampson.”
Designated DDG 102, Sampson is the 52nd of 62 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. This highly capable multimission ship can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the national military strategy. Sampson will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Cmdr. Philip Roos, born in Leiderdorp, the Netherlands, will become the ship’s first commanding officer and lead the crew of approximately 292 men and women. The 9,200-ton Sampson is being built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company, and is 509.5 ft. in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 32 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.