SECDEF Visits PCU Wayne E. Meyer Sailors & Tours Bath Shipyard

By Lt.j.g. Andre M. Agraviador, PCU Wayne E. Meyer Public Affairs

BATH, Maine – U. S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates visited PCU Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) at Bath Iron Works Shipyard May 22.

During his visit, Gates lauded the outstanding efforts of Sailors worldwide and took the time to meet with each Sailor individually.

Gates said he was “very impressed with the efforts of the Wayne E. Meyer crew” and noted “the plank owners will share a significant role in naval history”.

"It means a lot to the Sailors for the Secretary of Defense to take time from his busy schedule to be with us today," said Meyer’s commanding officer Cmdr. Nick Sarap, Jr. "These Sailors have worked exceptionally hard and sacrificed a lot for their country. It's an honor for them to be recognized by him.”

Gates also recognized the significant role Bath Iron Works plays in the Navy’s shipbuilding infrastructure. “There’s plenty of money in the budget to keep this shipyard busy for a considerable number of years in the future,” he said.

The ship is named after Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer who is regarded as the "Father of Aegis" after spearheading the development of the SPY-1 radar system which serves as the cornerstone of the Aegis weapons system.

As the 58th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the 100th Aegis Weapons System to be delivered to the Navy, Wayne E. Meyer will be able to conduct a variety of operations varying from peacetime operations and anti-piracy, to power projection. Wayne E. Meyer will be able to conduct air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to apply maritime power in the defense of vital U.S. interests and assets in an increasingly asymmetrical environment.

The 9,200-ton Wayne E. Meyer is currently being built by Bath Iron Works and is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in mid-2009. She has a crew compliment of 278 Sailors and will be homeported in San Diego.