Northrop Grumman Corporation's Ship Systems sector laid the keel on Halsey
(DDG 97) and Mesa Verde (LPD 19) Feb. 24 and 25 respectively, during
ceremonies held at the company's Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula,
Mesa Verde is the third ship of the LPD 17 San Antonio-class
ships being built at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
and the first ship
in this class to be erected at Ingalls Operations. It is named in
honor of the Mesa Verde National Park in Southwestern Colorado. Mesa
Verde is scheduled for delivery in late 2005.
"Wherever you go in the world, the most recognized object in
the world is the flag of the United States
of America," said U.S. Rep.
Scott McInnis from Colorado's 3rd Congressional District. "Every one
of the people serving in our military services, if they were here,
would pat these shipbuilders on the back and thank them for giving them
the tools they need to protect our nation."
"This is a unique class of amphibious ships that is being designed and built using state-of-the-art, innovative design tools and equally innovative management processes," said John McIntire, vice president, Tech-Marine Business, Inc., and former Navy technical director of the LPD 17 program. "It is a great credit to all of you in the shipbuilding community who broke ground in this endeavor that the Mesa Verde will be the most mission-capable, sailor-friendly and technologically advanced warship in the U.S. Navy when it enters the
"This ship, wherever it deploys, will be a piece of the United
States," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, corporate vice president, Northrop Grumman, and president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "It represents
the will and determination of the American people to secure our
interests around the world with means like these gray hulls. This ship
is built to fight. The American taxpayer has paid a premium to ensure
that this ship is rugged, and if the ship does withstand damage that it
will survive to fight again."
The Aegis-guided missile destroyer DDG 97 is named in honor of
Fleet Adm. William Frederick "Bull" Halsey, Jr., USN (1882-1959). Bull
Halsey was a naval hero who, while in command of USS Enterprise in
World War II, led Carrier Division TWO in the first attacks against
Japan following Pearl Harbor. His task force launched the "Doolittle
raid" against targets inside Japan.
"As we celebrate this tradition in the Navy, we also celebrate
this great shipyard and what it means not only to our economy, but to
the protection of our national security interests," said U.S. Rep. Jo
Bonner of Alabama's 1st Congressional District, who was the principal
speaker. "I'm especially pleased to pay tribute to a great American
Naval hero, Bull Halsey, a man whose very life served as an example for
all of those who served under him. It is only appropriate that this
ceremony, in these uncertain times that we're living in, that we honor
the spirit, the integrity and the very word of Adm. Halsey who said,
'Hit hard, hit fast and hit often.' It is a worthy reminder as we go
forward to defend our freedom, the freedom we love and cherish, that we
honor him in this very appropriate way."
Halsey is scheduled for delivery in early 2005