CORONADO, Calif., July 28, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Navy commissioned the Aegis guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) in a twilight ceremony on Saturday, July 26, at Naval Air Station North Island.
The ship is the 18th Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer built by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ship Systems sector in Pascagoula, Miss.
Adm. Vern Clark, chief of Naval Operations, delivered the principal commissioning address. "This ship is the embodiment of credible, persistent combat power, capable of taking American sovereignty to the far corners of the world, without a permission slip," Clark said. "This ship and its crew will be the force behind American diplomacy. But when called into action, they will attack our enemies and shield our allies with daring."
The new destroyer is named for the Mustin family, whose naval tradition spans four generations and nearly a century of service. Sponsors for USS Mustin are Lucy Holcomb Mustin, wife of ship's co-namesake retired Navy Vice Adm. Henry C. Mustin, II; Jean Phillips Mustin, wife of ship's co-namesake retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas M. Mustin; Mrs. Douglas Mustin St. Denis, sister of Henry C. Mustin, II and Thomas M. Mustin. The sponsors gave the traditional order to the crew of USS Mustin to "man our ship and bring her to life!" Responding, Mustin's crew of nearly 400 officers and enlisted personnel marched aboard their new ship, and saluted the more than 6,000 guests in attendance.
Dr. Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and corporate vice president, Northrop Grumman Corporation, addressed the crowd, "on behalf of the company's 17,000 shipbuilders, and expressing their pride in the celebration of Mustin joining the fleet, another instance of 'America's shipyard' building freedom, one great ship at a time."
Aegis destroyers are equipped to conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. These multimission ships provide primary protection for the Navy's aircraft carriers and battle groups, as well as essential escort to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.
Vice Adm. Tim LaFleur, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, hailed the skilled workers of Northrop Grumman for building such a magnificent ship. Said LaFleur, "Their dedication to our nation's defense is second to none. USS Mustin is yet another example in a legacy of shipbuilding that has kept our nation strong."
Cmdr. Ann Phillips of Annapolis, Md., commands USS Mustin, now officially a member of Destroyer Squadron One in the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
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 types.
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