SEATTLE, June 22, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) - (WITH PHOTO) Military and Congressional leaders called on the nation to purchase more technologically advanced ships like the USS Shoup (DDG 86), because, in the words of the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, "This ship is the 21st century answer to the global cancer of terrorism."
USS Shoup, 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 in Pascagoula, Miss., was commissioned today before more than 5,000 guests in attendance at Port Terminal 37 in Seattle.
The ship is named in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Gen. David M. Shoup (1904-1983), a naval hero of World War II, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the initial landings on Betio, Tarawa Atoll, in the Pacific in 1943, and who later became the 22nd commandant of the Marine Corps.
"This great ship builds on Gen. Shoup's legacy and will soon be the embodiment of the power of our naval teamwork," said Gen. James L. Jones Jr., USMC, commandant of the Marine Corps, in delivering the principal commissioning address. "Throughout the world, she will sail with confidence in the defense of our freedoms, representing our 21st century answer to those who would threaten the promise of democracy and our freedom - still mankind's best hope for the future.
"May Shoup and her crew always be safe, supported by the realization that in order for us to continue to be the land of the free, we'll also have to be the home of the brave," Gen. Jones said. "USS Shoup is such a home."
"USS Shoup represents a continued investment in our military readiness to play a role in this new war against terrorism," said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington's Second Congressional District. "Shoup and the men and women who serve aboard her will play a key role in protecting our battle groups, aiding homeland security, projecting U.S. power, and promoting and protecting democracy abroad and at home."
"From this day forward, this magnificent ship will be recognized around the world as a symbol of American naval supremacy," said Adm. Robert J. Natter, USN commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. "And certainly, these ships are not cheap, but neither is liberty, neither is freedom of the seas, and neither is the fight in which we're currently engaged against terrorism around the world. The face of war has changed from enemies holding national allegiance to shadowy cowards killing innocent people - terrorists whose only allegiance is to their own depraved interests and whose goal is to tear apart all that is great and wonderful about America and all the free nations of the world."
"By putting this powerful marvel of modern technology to sea and preparing her to join the fleet, the United States Navy and the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems team have accomplished a feat that is the envy of most all other seafaring nations, for this ship is a true example of the shipbuilder's art," said Rear Adm. Roland B. Knapp, USN, program executive officer for Aircraft Carriers. "In a time when the strength and readiness of our fleet is challenged on a daily basis, it's a reminder to all of us that we are committed to provide the men and women of the United States Navy with the best and most capable platform on which to carry out our nation's strategies."
Mrs. Claudia Natter, wife of Adm. Robert J. Natter, USN commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and Mrs. Zola Shoup, of Arlington, Va., the widow of Gen. Shoup, are the Ship's Sponsors. Matron of Honor, Lt. Col. Catherine Chase, USMCR, of Fairport, N.Y., represented her grandmother (Mrs. Shoup) at the ceremony.
DDG 86, commanded by Cmdr. E. Bernard Carter, a native of Hopkins, S.C., is now homeported in Everett, Wash., as an element of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Following DDG 86, Northrop Grumman has contracts to produce eight additional Aegis destroyers, with six of those ships in various stages of production, including Pinckney (DDG 91), which will be christened Saturday, June 29.
"Warships are our stock in trade," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Ship Systems sector. "We feel especially proud that we build the ships which compose Sea Strike Forces - carriers and attack submarines, amphibious assault ships, surface combatants, and soon the new DD(X) family of surface combatants that will contain more capabilities in one ship than we can even imagine today.
"One of the major lessons from the Battle of Tarawa was the need for naval gunfire of greater duration and greater accuracy," Dur added. "USS Shoup will bring more accurate and longer gunfire support to the fleet."
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems Sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss., and 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.
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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CONTACT: Jim McIngvale Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (228) 327-0529