By Program Executive Officer Ships Public Affairs
The Navy accepted delivery of the guided-missile destroyer Stockdale from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works during a ceremony in on Sept. 30.
Designated DDG 106, the new destroyer honors Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005), the legendary leader of American prisoners of war (POWs) during the Vietnam War.
Stockdale is the 56th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Stockdale will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare. The ship can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. The ship’s combat system centers around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-lD(V), multi-function phased array radar.
Cmdr. Frederick W. Kacher, of , is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Stockdale is being built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics Company. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer ever held as a POW in . His plane was shot down Sept. 9, 1965, while flying combat missions over . Stockdale spent more than seven years in captivity at prisons in , including time at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Four of those years were spent in solitary confinement. While imprisoned, Stockdale is credited with organizing a set of rules to govern the behavior of fellow POWs and for helping to develop a code for prisoners to communicate with each other that included tapping on cell walls. In recognition of his leadership and sacrifice he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976.