The newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Forrest
Sherman will be christened on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony
at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss.
Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi will
deliver the ceremony’s principal
address. Ann Sherman Fitzpatrick will
serve as sponsor of the ship named for her
father. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break the bottle of champagne
across the bow to formally christen Forrest Sherman.
The new destroyer honors Adm. Forrest Percival Sherman (1896-1951).
Sherman served as Chief of Naval Operations from November 1949 until his death on
July 22, 1951. Following World War I service, he was designated a naval aviator
and later served on the USS Lexington during the carrier's first year in service.
He twice held squadron commands on the USS Saratoga and served as navigator on the
USS Ranger prior to joining the staff of commander, U.S. Fleet.
When World War II began, he served in the War Plans Division under the
chief of naval operations. After assuming command of the USS Wasp in May 1942, he
attained the rank of captain and earned the Navy Cross for his leadership of that
ship during early phases of the occupation and defense of Guadalcanal in the
Solomon Islands. After a Japanese submarine sank the USS Wasp on Sept. 15, 1942,
he became chief of staff, to commander air force, Pacific Fleet and served in that
capacity until November 1943, when he became deputy chief of staff to Adm. Chester
W. Nimitz. He earned a Distinguished Service Medal for his role in planning the
capture of the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Western Carolines, Iwo Jima, and
Following a brief tenure as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces,
Mediterranean, Sherman became the youngest man ever to serve as chief of naval
operations on Nov. 2, 1949. One previous ship named in his honor, the USS Forrest
Sherman (1955-1982), earned a Navy Unit Commendation and performed distinguished
service off Lebanon (1958), Quemoy-Matsu (1958), Cuba (1961), and in the Indian
Forrest Sherman is the 48th of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers
currently authorized by Congress. This highly capable multi-mission ship 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.
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.
Cmdr. Michael G. Van Durick of Pennsylvania will become the first
commanding officer of the ship, which has accommodations for 383 officers and
enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Forrest Sherman is being built by
Northrop-Grumman Ship Systems. It 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.