PASCAGOULA, Miss., Nov. 3, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- (WITH PHOTO) USS Preble (DDG 88), the newest in a series of advanced Aegis guided missile destroyers built for the U.S. Navy by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ship Systems sector, will be commissioned at 10 a.m. EST Nov. 9, 2002, at Anthony's Pier 4 in Boston, Mass.
This ship is named in honor of Commodore Edward Preble (1761-1807), who was appointed a first lieutenant in the Navy in 1798.
More than 5,000 invited guests are expected to attend when DDG 88's more than 300 officers and enlisted personnel march to their posts on the ship, which will be dockside next to the Navy's first ship, USS Constitution.
Mrs. Connie Rae Clark, wife of Adm. Vern Clark, USN chief of naval operations, is the ship's sponsor. Mrs. Clark and her sister-in-law, Matron of Honor Elaine Johnson of Toledo, Ohio, will give the traditional order to "Man our ship and bring her to life!"
U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts will deliver the principal commissioning address.
Following commissioning, DDG 88 will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., as an element of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Cmdr. Timothy A. Batzler, a native of Baltimore, Md., will command the 509.5-foot, 9,300-ton destroyer.
USS Preble (DDG 88) is the 38th ship of the DDG 51 Aegis destroyer program, and the 17th to be built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. The ship is the fifth of the revised Flight IIA ships built by Northrop Grumman, with hangars for two SH-60B/F helicopters and an enlarged flight deck.
Construction of DDG 88 began at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' Ingalls Operations July 26, 1999. The ship's keel was laid June 22, 2000, and she was launched June 1, 2001. DDG 88 sailed into the Gulf of Mexico for her first sea trials June 24, 2002. The ship was delivered to the Navy by Northrop Grumman Aug. 12, 2002, and departed Pascagoula Oct. 11, 2002.
Following DDG 88, Northrop Grumman has contracts to produce 11 additional Aegis destroyers. Six of those ships are in various stages of production, including Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), which will be christened during a public ceremony in the shipyard Jan. 11, 2003.
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; and in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. The sector, which currently employs more than 18,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.
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CONTACT: Jim McIngvale Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (228) 935-3971