US Navy to Commission New Guided Missile Destroyer Spruance

The Navy will com­mis­sion the newest Arleigh Burke class guid­ed-mis­sile destroy­er, Spru­ance, Sat­ur­day, Oct. 1, 2011, dur­ing a 6:30 p.m. EDT cer­e­mo­ny at Naval Air Sta­tion Key West, Fla.

Des­ig­nat­ed DDG 111, the new destroy­er hon­ors leg­endary Adm. Ray­mond Spru­ance, whose calm and deci­sive lead­er­ship at the Bat­tle of Mid­way con­tributed to a piv­otal Amer­i­can vic­to­ry dur­ing World War II.

Vice Chief of Naval Oper­a­tions Adm. Mark E. Fer­gu­son III will deliv­er the ceremony’s prin­ci­pal address. Ellen Spru­ance Holsch­er, grand­daugh­ter of the ship’s name­sake will serve as the spon­sor. The cer­e­mo­ny will be high­light­ed by a time-hon­ored Navy tra­di­tion when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Born in Bal­ti­more, July 3, 1886, Spru­ance grad­u­at­ed from the Naval Acad­e­my in 1906. His Navy career was exten­sive, includ­ing com­mand of five destroy­ers and the bat­tle­ship Mis­sis­sip­pi. Spru­ance led Task Force 16, with two air­craft car­ri­ers, dur­ing the 1942 Bat­tle of Mid­way, where his dis­po­si­tion of forces and man­age­ment of air­craft was cru­cial to a vic­to­ry that is regard­ed as the turn­ing point in the Pacif­ic war with Japan. He lat­er direct­ed cam­paigns that cap­tured the Gilberts, Mar­shalls, Mar­i­anas, Iwo Jima and Oki­nawa and defeat­ed the Japan­ese fleet in the 1944 Bat­tle of Philip­pine Sea. After com­mand­ing the Pacif­ic Fleet in 1945–46, Spru­ance served as pres­i­dent of the Naval War Col­lege until retir­ing in 1948. In 1952–55, he was ambas­sador to the Philip­pines. Spru­ance died at Peb­ble Beach, Calif., Dec. 13, 1969.

Spru­ance, the 61st Arleigh Burke-class destroy­er, will be able to con­duct a vari­ety of oper­a­tions, from peace­time pres­ence and cri­sis man­age­ment to sea con­trol and pow­er pro­jec­tion. Spru­ance will con­tain myr­i­ad offen­sive and defen­sive weapons designed to sup­port mar­itime war­fare and be capa­ble of fight­ing air, sur­face and sub­sur­face bat­tles simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

The ship will be the sec­ond ship named for Spru­ance. The first USS Spru­ance (DD 963) was the lead ship of Spru­ance class destroy­ers serv­ing from 1973 to 2005.

Cmdr. Tate West­brook, a native of Murfrees­boro, Tenn., will become the first com­mand­ing offi­cer of the ship and will lead a crew of 285 offi­cers and enlist­ed per­son­nel. The 9,200-ton Spru­ance was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a water­line beam of 59 feet, and a nav­i­ga­tion­al draft of 31 feet. Four gas tur­bine engines will pow­er the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Infor­ma­tion at 703–697-5342. For more infor­ma­tion on Arleigh Burke class destroy­ers, vis­it .

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)