New Aegis Destroyer Christened

Monday, January 19, 2004

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour cheers as ship sponsors Heidi Cooke Halsey, Alice Spruance Talbot and Anne Halsey-Smith simultaneously smash ceremonial bottles of champagne across the bow of the Aegis guided missile destroyer DDG 97, officially christening the ship "Halsey." Halsey honors the sponsors' grandfather, Fleet Adm. William Frederick "Bull" Halsey Jr., a World War I and World War II Naval hero.

More than 1,000 guests attended the Saturday, January 17, 2004 christening of the Aegis guided missile destroyer Halsey (DDG 97) at Northrop Grumman Corporation's Ship Systems sector. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was a special guest at the event. "It is entirely fitting and proper that the USS Halsey be a destroyer," Gov. Barbour said. "It is also appropriate that the Halsey is built here at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations. When I grew up, we called this 'the shipyard of the future' ...it still is. Thank you all at Ingalls for what you do for our state, and most of all, what you do for our country. Mississippi is investing in Northrop Grumman Ship Systems to keep it on the cutting edge so that our yard can provide the men and women of the Navy with the finest vessels of warfare and systems which increase America's technological advantage over any adversary. "

The ship 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. Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was the ceremony's keynote speaker. "I'm glad to see this ship come to life," said Adm. Fallon. "And I look forward to her entry into the Fleet to carry on the warrior legacy of Adm. Halsey. I'd like to congratulate the men and women who had a hand in building this wonderful ship. Thank you, and keep up the great work."

Three of Adm. Halsey's granddaughters are co-sponsors of the ship: Mrs. Anne Halsey-Smith and Miss Heidi Cooke Halsey, both of La Jolla, Calif.; and Mrs. Alice Spruance Talbot, of Boca Grande, Fla. Two of Halsey's great granddaughters, Mrs. Lea Spruance Beard and Miss Margaret Halsey Talbot, were present as matron and maid of honor, respectively, for the event. The co-sponsors simultaneously smashed bottles of champagne across the ship's bow, christening the ship in honor of their grandfather.

Other ceremony participants included Navy Rear Adm. Charles S. Hamilton II, program executive officer for ships; Navy Capt. David Bella, supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion and repair, Gulf Coast; retired Navy Vice Adm. William F. McCauley; Dr. Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and Paul Robinson, vice president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations.

"This ship, DDG 97, is at the pinnacle of modern Naval capability," Dur said. "It is the very embodiment of offensive and defensive Naval power and a sovereign reminder of our determination to secure our freedom and protect our interests anywhere they are challenged. Bull Halsey would be proud to sail in this ship. Like him, DDG 97, is built to fight. "

Adm. Halsey was born in October 1892 in Elizabeth, N.J. He earned a Navy Cross for his service in WW I. Early in WW II, Halsey's carrier task force took part in the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. He took command in the South Pacific in October 1942 at a critical stage of the Guadalcanal Campaign. 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.

Halsey (DDG 97) is the 47TH ship in the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class of Aegis guided missile destroyers - the U.S. Navy's most powerful destroyer fleet. Of 28 ships under contract to Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector, Halsey is the 22nd Aegis destroyer to be launched and christened. The 509.5-foot, 9,300-ton ship has an overall beam of 66.5 feet, and a navigational draft of 31.9 feet. Four gas turbine propulsion plants will power the ship to speeds above 30 knots. A crew of approximately 383 officers and crewmembers will operate the ship.

Upon completion of outfitting, as well as dockside and at-sea testing and crew training, Halsey will be commissioned in 2005.

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