Tuesday, April 28, 2009

USS Truxtun Joins the Fleet

By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Daniel Gay, Navy Public Affairs Element Detachment Southeast

CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- The Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Truxtun (DDG 103), was commissioned Saturday, April 25, during a ceremony at Naval Weapons Station Charleston, S.C.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead gave the principal address.

"I had the privilege of putting an Arleigh Burke destroyer into commission in my younger days, and I know what's ahead, there is a lot of hard work, a lot of challenges, but there is also going to be tremendous satisfaction," said Roughead.

The process of commissioning a Navy ship takes many years of trials and training and to finally reach this milestone is very important said Cmdr. Timothy Weber, commanding officer, USS Truxton.

"I feel exhilarated and relieved because we finally made it to this process after many years of hard work preparing to go operational," said Weber. "It's such a great feeling to join the fleet today with this great crew of men and women that are dedicated to supporting and defending our country."

Designated DDG 103, the destroyer honors Commodore Thomas Truxtun (1755-1822) who embarked upon a seafaring career at age 12. When the U.S. Navy was initially organized, he was selected as one of its first six captains on June 4, 1798. He was assigned command of USS Constellation, one of the nation's new frigates. Truxtun put to sea to prosecute the undeclared naval war with revolutionary France. On Feb. 9, 1799, Truxtun achieved one of his most famous victories when Constellation battered the French warship L'Insurgente into submission in one of the most illustrious battles of the quasi-war with France.

The newest ship in the fleet shares its namesake with five previous Navy ships: a brig launched in 1842, two destroyers DD 14 and DD 229, a high speed transport APD 98 (initially designated as destroyer escort DE 282), and a nuclear-powered frigate (DLGN) later re-designated cruiser CGN 35.

The plank owners of Truxton will share in this great naval history.

"This crew will be close for the rest of their lives," said Roughead. "The things that they have had to do, the effort they have put into building this ship, preparing this ship for where it is today, it's something that's brought them together in ways that ship crews don't normally have the opportunity to do."

The 53rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Truxtun, is able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Truxtun can also fight air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and she contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

"I feel confident, because my crew is such a great group of young professionals dedicated to doing a job well done," said Weber. "If we have to steam into harm's way we are ready for action."

Carol Leigh Roelker and Susan Scott Martin, descendants of the ship's namesake, served as sponsors of the ship and the ceremony was highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when they gave the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

The 9,200-ton Truxtun was built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Ingalls Operations, Pascagoula, Miss .and has a crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The ship is 510 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines can power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots and push her wherever her country needs her next.