More than 3,000 guests attended a ceremony on January 28 at Naval Air Station Pensacola to commission the Aegis guided
missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98). Built by Northrop Grumman, the ship received its commissioning orders to join the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Fleet. Ann Sherman Fitzpatrick, ship's sponsor, ordered the officers and crew to
"man our ship and bring her to life," and with a response of "aye, aye
ma'am," the DDG 98 crew moved through the crowd to take their positions
on the ship.
The new destroyer honors Adm. Forrest Percival Sherman, who
served as the Chief of Naval Operations from November 1949 until his
death in July 1951, the youngest man to occupy the office. A previous
ship named in his honor earned a Navy Unit Commendation and performed
distinguished service off Lebanon (1958), Quemoy-Matsu (1958), Cuba
(1961), and in the Indian Ocean (1980).
Many Northrop Grumman employees lived and worked on the ship
while the company's Pascagoula, Miss. facilities were being rebuilt
after suffering major damage from Hurricane Katrina. Company
executives and facility managers utilized the ship's berthing areas,
mess decks and office spaces while developing the plan to restore the
shipyard and resume shipbuilding.
Cmdr. Michael G. Van Durick, a Scranton, Pa., native and 1986
Naval Academy graduate, is the ship's first commanding officer, which
has accommodations for 383 officers and enlisted personnel. The
9,200-ton Aegis destroyer
has an overall length of 509.5 feet, 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.
This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of
operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea
control and power projection. USS Forrest Sherman 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.