USA — Navy to Christen Guided Missile Destroyer Spruance

The Navy will chris­ten the newest guid­ed-mis­sile destroy­er, Spru­ance, Sat­ur­day, June 5, 2010, dur­ing a 10 a.m. EDT cer­e­mo­ny at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. 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.

Sean Stack­ley, assis­tant sec­re­tary of the Navy for research, devel­op­ment and acqui­si­tion, will deliv­er the ceremony’s prin­ci­pal address. Ellen Spru­ance Holsch­er, grand­daugh­ter of the ship’s name­sake, will serve as spon­sor, and in accor­dance with Navy tra­di­tion, will break a bot­tle of cham­pagne across the bow to for­mal­ly chris­ten the ship. 

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. 

Des­ig­nat­ed DDG 111, Spru­ance is the 61st ship of the Arleigh Burke class, a mul­ti-mis­sion guid­ed mis­sile destroy­er designed to oper­ate in mul­ti-threat air, sur­face and sub­sur­face threat envi­ron­ments. The class pro­vides out­stand­ing com­bat capa­bil­i­ty and sur­viv­abil­i­ty char­ac­ter­is­tics while min­i­miz­ing pro­cure­ment and life­time sup­port costs. 

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., is the prospec­tive com­mand­ing offi­cer and will lead a crew of 276 offi­cers and enlist­ed per­son­nel. The 9,200-ton Spru­ance 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. Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on Arleigh Burke class destroy­ers is avail­able online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4 .

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

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