PASCAGOULA, Miss., Dec. 17, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- (WITH PHOTO) The U.S. Navy's newest guided missile destroyer, MUSTIN (DDG 89), "will carry American sovereignty to the far corners of the Earth," Adm. Vernon E. Clark, USN, chief of naval operations, said during christening ceremonies here on Dec. 15 for the ship built by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ingalls Operations.
Adm. Clark was the principal speaker at ceremonies for the new Aegis guided missile destroyer, which is named for a family of Naval war heroes spanning a century of service to Navy and country. The MUSTIN is the 18th Aegis destroyer to be built by the company's Ingalls Operations.
"America is a global power ... and responsibilities come with our status," Adm. Clark said. "America's standing starts with sea power ... power that is fundamental to the security and prosperity of our nation. This newest and most modern Navy destroyer is launching into troubled waters and troubled times ... as part of our global Navy, this ship and her crew will carry America's sovereignty to the far corners of the Earth."
Adm. Clark paid tribute to the men and women of Ingalls, saying, "This place is a cornerstone of American sea power ... a place where they build warships ... one of the shipbuilding centers of the United States.
"This new warship, 'MUSTIN,'" he continued, "will be able to hit targets deep inland, where necessary, with pinpoint accuracy, in any weather, any time, anywhere, making 'around-the-world, around-the-clock' a reality for our Navy and our nation."
At the pinnacle of the christening, three Mustin family members serving as Ship's Sponsors christened the new ship. Mrs. Lucy Holcomb Mustin, wife of ship's namesake Vice Adm. Henry C. Mustin, USN, retired, of Arlington, Va.; Mrs. Jean Phillips Mustin, wife of ship's namesake Thomas Mustin, former lieutenant commander, USN, of Coronado, Calif.; and Mrs. Douglas Mustin St. Denis, also of Coronado, sister of Vice Adm. and Mr. Mustin, simultaneously splashed traditional bottles of champagne across the new ship's bow.
Mrs. Anne Howard Thomas of San Diego, Calif., who served as Maid of Honor for the first ship named MUSTIN, DD 413, in 1938, served DDG 89's sponsors as Matron of Honor.
"It has been a privilege for my family to serve this country and the Navy in peace and war for 100 years, and we've always considered it a privilege," said Vice Adm. Henry C. Mustin, USN retired, one of the ship's namesakes. "Through this century of service, our Navy grew from a force of about 12,000 officers and men to the summit of the maritime world where today it stands alone over the oceans of the world, like the Colossus of Rhodes. And today, the Navy has given us the ultimate honor that it can grant to its sailors."
"I want to thank the workforce of the Ingalls team for their effort and dedication resulting in this ship as we bring her to this milestone of construction," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, president of Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector. "Today we bring the Mustin tradition, representing a century of distinguished Naval service, into the construction of a modern warship, DDG 89, built with all the care and attention that the best destroyer shipbuilders in the world can muster. The crew of MUSTIN will cruise the world's oceans, displaying the strength and determination of this great country to secure its vital interests and protect its citizens."
Dr. Dur said that through DDG 89, "The Mustin tradition will be passed anew to several generations of seafaring Americans who will distinguish themselves as surely as the crew of the first USS MUSTIN and the warriors for whom these ships were named."
"I have no doubt at all that if my grandfather (Captain Henry C. Mustin, 1874-1923) were here today he would recognize instantly the fierce pride the men and women of Ingalls take in their craft," said Tom Mustin, a former Navy lieutenant commander and ship's namesake. "I can only imagine what he would feel if he could see this beautiful warship that will bear his name and that of his descendants. I speak on behalf of the entire Mustin family when I say to the men and women of Ingalls, and the sailors who will take this ship to sea, 'You're the best in the world at what you do ... and our country is lucky to have you.'"
"It's my honor to join in recognizing and paying tribute to the extraordinary patriotism and service of the Mustin family," said Vice Adm. Timothy W. LaFleur, USN, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "During a time within our country when those words, patriotism and service, have taken on a far greater significance, I can't think of a more appropriate name for a ship, and particularly a destroyer. For over a century the Mustin family has exemplified the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment."
"These wonderful warships like MUSTIN (DDG 89) are going to be part of our national security fabric in bringing terrorism to its knees once and for all," said Rear Adm. William W. Cobb Jr., USN, program executive officer for Theater Surface Combatants. "It's my job to build ships. I'm just a small part of an organization like Northrop Grumman Ship Systems that builds these magnificent ships. We will always build these ships the best way we know how with the best technology that money can buy. We will never get in a situation where we have to tell family members their son or daughter isn't coming home because of a shortcut we took and I assure you -- that will never be the case."
MUSTIN (DDG 89) is the 39th of 58 ARLEIGH BURKE Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. Aegis destroyers are the most capable surface warship ever built. Equipped with the latest weapons, electronics, helicopter support facilities, propulsion, auxiliary and survivability systems, these ships will carry out the Navy's missions well into the 21st century. State-of-the-art command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems provide their ships' crew with complete situational awareness.
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss., includes the Ingalls Operations and the Ship Systems Full Service Center, both located in Pascagoula, as well as the Avondale Operations, located in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., and Gulfport, Miss. The Ship Systems sector, 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. Ship Systems has a firm business backlog exceeding $5.5 billion, in a variety of naval and commercial shipbuilding programs.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is an $18 billion, global defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and nuclear and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With nearly 100,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
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CAPTION: Ship's Sponsors, from left, Lucy Holcomb Mustin (second from left), Jean Phillips Mustin, and Douglas Mustin St. Denis, with their Matron of Honor Anne Howard Thomas, far left, observing, smash their traditional bottles of champagne in unison across the bow of the U.S. Navy's newest Aegis guided missile destroyer, officially christening the ship "MUSTIN" (DDG 89). Saturday's christening ceremony at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls Operations, Pascagoula, Miss., honored the Mustin family for its century of naval service.
CONTACT: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Jim McIngvale (228) 935-3971