NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2001 -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz called the USS BULKELEY (DDG 84) ``an indispensable force for peace and freedom in the world'' during commissioning ceremonies today near the World Trade Center site. The advanced Aegis guided missile destroyer is the 34th ship of the DDG 51 program and the 15th to be built by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Miss.
``USS BULKELEY deploys the most advanced weapon systems afloat today. She also demonstrates the power that only a free nation can generate. It is a privilege for all of us to be here for the commissioning of a ship that is a product of the great partnership between government and industry that is crucial to the defense of our country and peace and freedom in the world,'' Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz said.
Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz delivered the principal commissioning address ``in the shadow of Lady Liberty, and within walking distance of 'Ground Zero.''' A standing-room-only gathering of more than 6,000 witnessed the patriotic pier-side ceremony adjacent to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
DDG 84 is named in honor of native New Yorker Vice Adm. John D. Bulkeley, USN, (1911-1996), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who spearheaded the evacuation of General Douglas MacArthur from the island of Corregidor in World War II and later served as President of the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.
``When a ship is named, the name is never chosen lightly,'' Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz continued. ``The name forms the heart of the ship's identity. This ship bears the name of a man whose service over the course of an incredible 54 years in the U.S. Navy displayed the same traits of character that define this city, which was his home town. John Duncan Bulkeley was a true New Yorker and displayed the characteristics of this city -- caring, innovative and tough. There's no more fitting place to commission this ship.''
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani noted, ``Many of the great ships of the 20th century sailed the waters of New York harbor ... and today, one of the great ships of the 21st century begins that same voyage. Like each of the Navy ships that sailed this harbor before her, USS BULKELEY sails to protect our way of life and our foundation of liberty and justice.
``We've all learned that our nation's civic pillars of liberty, justice and unity need to be aggressively protected,'' Mayor Giuliani said. ``I know that the men and women of USS BULKELEY are prepared to assume that responsibility and meet all challenges with courage, strength and honor.''
U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella of New York's 13th Congressional District called DDG 84 ``a floating marvel of American ingenuity and technological superiority ... her systems are state-of-the-art, and her crew is the best America could ask for. Today, they assume their place in the long line of heroes defending democracy and the American way of life.''
``One day after the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we look to new heroes to inspire us in the war against terrorism,'' said Secretary of the Navy Gordon England. ``Fortunately, for our nation, this crew of BULKELEY has 300 new heroes in the making that will bring this ship to life.''
Dr. Philip A. Dur, president of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, called it a ``distinct honor and privilege'' to represent the 17,000 employees of Ship Systems ``who have been partners with the U.S. Navy since the doors of our shipyards opened in 1938.'' He noted ``the many hundreds of shipbuilders at Ingalls in Pascagoula, whose coordination of many different skills, trades and crafts brought form and substance'' to USS BULKELEY.
``Since 1981, Ingalls has completed 34 Aegis equipped ships, including USS BULKELEY, a total of 175 weeks ahead of schedule and more than $600 million under published budgets.'' Dr. Dur continued. ``Our shipbuilders are proud of this record, and mindful of our responsibility to continue it -- our nation deserves nothing less.''
At the pinnacle of Saturday's commissioning, USS BULKELEY's five Ship's Sponsors ordered DDG 84's more than 300 officers and enlisted personnel to their posts, giving the traditional order to ``Man this ship and bring her to life!'' The sponsors include three daughters of Vice Adm. Bulkeley: Joan Bulkeley Stade, of Oak Brook, Ill.; Regina Bulkeley Day, of York, Neb.; Diana Bulkeley Lindsay, of Olney, Md.; one daughter in-law, Carol A. Bulkeley, of Virginia Beach, Va.; and Sarah C. Fargo, wife of Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The new ship will depart New York Monday morning, bound for her new homeport in Norfolk, Va., where she will report for duty as an element of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's Destroyer Squadron 22. Commander Carlos Del Toro, USN, of New York, is now in command of the 509.5-foot, 9,300-ton destroyer.
``To the men and women of the Naval Sea Systems Command, the office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations, I say 'thank you' for building us this mighty warship,'' said Cmdr. Del Toro. ``I now promise you that we, the sailors of BULKELEY, will always guard her with the same passion, drive and determination that embody our ship's namesake, John Duncan Bulkeley.''
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.
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, La., Tallulah, La., and Gulfport, Miss. 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. The Ship Systems sector 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.
Contacts: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Jim McIngvale (228) 327-0529