PASCAGOULA, Miss. - Jan. 11, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- "Chung-Hoon will enter the fleet at a time when our Navy and our nation needs her desperately," said Adm. Walter F. Doran, USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, at today's christening of the new Aegis guided missile destroyer at Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ingalls Operations here.
"I am confident that like her namesake, she will sail tall and strong, and answer every challenge with the same courage and tenacity displayed by Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon. Chung-Hoon will now sail side-by-side with other great ships of this class that have been named for Naval heroes, ships like USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Porter (DDG 78), and USS Preble (DDG 88). They are especially familiar to the men and women of Ingalls who built them, as well as many more of the great warships of today that are navigating the world's oceans and protecting all that America holds dear."
Adm. Doran was principal speaker at Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector for the christening of the Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), named to honor Rear Adm. Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon, (1910-1979), recipient of the Navy Cross for his courageous leadership after a devastating kamikaze attack in 1945 left several of his crew dead and his ship, USS Sigsbee (DD 502), severely crippled.
Adm. Doran, paying tribute to the men and women of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems who built DDG 93, said, "I want to thank you all for the dedication and determination you have displayed in service of your country, because the men and women of the Navy who are deployed during this time of war could not be fighting and winning the battles overseas or protecting our homeland without the efforts of the Northrop Grumman team. For decades now, the ingenuity and skill of the great workforce here at Ingalls have provided the Navy with the world's greatest warships."
More than 1,300 guests attended the ceremony highlighting the courageous actions of Chung-Hoon. Perry White, stepson of Gordon Chung-Hoon, addressed the audience with memories of Chung-Hoon as a father figure.
"He did things only because they were the right things to do," White said. "I never saw him do anything because somebody wanted him to do it, or he thought it would improve his chances for gaining something. He had an incredible, clear internal compass that always kept him on the right course."
The ceremony culminated as the ship's sponsor, Michelle Punana Chung-Hoon, of Honolulu, Hawaii, Gordon Chung-Hoon's niece, smashed a commemorative bottle of champagne across the bow of the ship, assisted by her friend and cousin, Matron of Honor Nancy King Holt, of Kailua, Hawaii, and Chung-Hoon's daughter, Maid of Honor Asti Punana Sorge', of Waianae, Hawaii. Chung-Hoon christened the new ship "in memory of my uncle, Rear Admiral Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon, and in the name of the United States of America. The capabilities of this guided missile destroyer and Uncle Gordon's heroic workmanship complement each other. To the officers and crew who will take their tour of duty on this destroyer, it is my hope and prayer that my uncle's spirit, motivation and determination be with you as you journey through complicated times in unfamiliar and sometimes unfriendly seas."
Chung-Hoon is the 43rd ship in the (DDG 51) Arleigh Burke-class of Aegis guided missile destroyers - the U.S. Navy's most powerful destroyer fleet. These highly capable, multimission ships can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.
"I want to recognize all the employees of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems for their outstanding service to the Navy and to our nation over the many years that Aegis ships have been built here in Pascagoula," said Rear Adm. Charles S. Hamilton II, USN, deputy program executive officer, Ships. "You truly are building freedom, one great ship at a time."
DDG 93 is the 20th Aegis destroyer to be launched and christened of 28 undercontract to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. The company's first 17 Aegis destroyers have been delivered to the Navy and commissioned into fleet service. Two additional ships now in production in Pascagoula will precede DDG 93 into the fleet.
"The superb efforts of the craftsmen and women of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems to build this ship while reducing costs, improving quality and maintaining schedule, are a true credit to our nation's defense industry," said Capt. Phil Johnson, USN, supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion and repair, Pascagoula. "Regardless of where Chung-Hoon sails, whether she is keeping the peace or engaging the enemy in battle, know that her success is rooted in the men and women who built her."
Construction of Chung-Hoon began Jan. 17, 2001, and DDG 93's keel was laid Jan. 14, 2002. Upon completion of outfitting, as well as dockside and at-sea testing and crew training, DDG 93 will be commissioned USS Chung-Hoon in 2004, and may be homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
"It is a proud day for the family and for the legacy of a hero, Rear Admiral Gordon Chung-Hoon, the namesake of this ship," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Ship Systems sector. "We are all proud that DDG 93 will bear his name. And I am particularly proud today that the hundreds of employees here at Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula are responsible for building what I think you will recognize as a beautiful ship."
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. Ship Systems, which currently employs more than 17,000 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 type.
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Contact: Jim McIngvale Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (228) 935-3971