KEY WEST, Fla. - USS Spruance (DDG 111) became the newest member of the Navy's Pacific fleet after being placed in commission during a sunset ceremony at Naval Air Station Key West Oct. 1.
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 delivered the ceremony's principal address. "We welcome the USS Spruance and her crew to the fleet," said Ferguson.
"Wherever she sails, this ship will honor Admiral Spruance's legacy as the 'quiet warrior' who displayed uncompromising integrity and a powerful intellect, while giving the nation victories at sea in time of war. "Ellen Spruance-Holscher, the ship's sponsor and granddaughter of the ship's namesake, gave the order to "man our ship and bring her to life" prompting the crew of 285 officers and enlisted personnel to run aboard and officially begin the ship's life.
Simultaneously, the ship's systems were activated. Movement of the ship's Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) gun, sounding of alarms, rotation of fire-control radars and a prolonged whistle blast showed approximately 3,400 guests in attendance that the ship was ready for service to the Navy and our country. Cmdr. Tate Westbrook, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., is the ship's first commanding officer and spoke of the advanced weapons systems on Spruance and credited his Sailors with an outstanding effort preparing to operate them.
"Spruance's crew has trained for years to sharpen their skills to employ those capabilities," said Westbrook. "On board Spruance, through many long hours, they have sharpened their swords."
Spruance, the 61st Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the second Navy ship to bear the name, 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 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. Spruance will proceed to her initial homeport of San Diego Oct. 3 as the newest member of Destroyer Squadron 23.