Navy Commissions Newest Destroyer

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
The newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Mason, was commissioned on Saturday, April 12 at a ceremony in Port Canaveral, Fla. She will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., with a crew of 365 officers and enlisted personnel. Cmdr. David Gale of Lebanon, N.Y., will become Mason's first commanding officer. The assistant secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller Dional M. Aviles delivered the ceremony's principal address. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine served as the ship sponsor.

Mason is the 21st Arleigh Burke class ship built by Bath Iron Works. The ship measures 510 ft., with an overall beam of 59 ft., and a navigational draft of 30 ft. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,200-ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots. Mason is the 37th ship of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. These highly capable, multi-mission ships 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. The ship will be acapable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously, and features a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

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