New Truxtun Joins Distinguished Line

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald
June 3, 2007 By Leigh Coleman, Sun Herald
The christening of the U.S. Navy's newest Aegis guided-missile destroyer, Truxtun (DDG 103), on Saturday at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula commemorated the founding father of the Navy and marked an important milestone in naval history.
More than 1,000 dignitaries gathered for the historic christening of the sixth Truxtun ship to bear the name of the U.S. Navy's first captain, Commodore Thomas Truxtun.
The first Truxtun was launched in 1842 as an anti-slave patrol ship off the coast of Africa.
The $1 billion Truxtun, 510-foot ship is the 25th Arleigh Burke Class destroyer launched and christened at Northrop Grumman.
The mission of the Truxtun will be to conduct sustained combat operations at sea; it is capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously. Cmdr. Timothy R. Weber is the ship's first commanding officer and will lead a crew of 276 officers and sailors.
A christening is the keystone of any ship's life and U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor says Congress, the Navy, the funds and Northrop Grumman all came together for the launching of the Truxtun and this time, they all did it right.
"The Navy is growing its fleet for the first time in a long time," said Taylor. "We have recognized our vulnerabilities, and we have our eye one the future."
The Truxtun ships have a long history, which includes one vessel that aground in 1942 during a storm off the coast of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, Canada, along with the supply ship Pollux. The icy waters claimed the lives of 110 crewmen but dozens survived, thanks to the small mining town of St. Lawrence. The entire town helped to rescue the sailors; they still memorialize the day of the shipwreck every year.
Lanier Phillips and Ed Lewis, survivors of the 1942 shipwreck, attended the christening.
"If you can use your imagination," Phillips said, "I was a black man in a Navy where things were still not right, and I was from Georgia. When I gained consciousness after the shipwreck, I saw that I was being taken care of by white people. Racism was at its height in 1941 and 1942 and the people of the community changed my life forever."
St. Lawrence Mayor Wayde Rowsell served as a special speaker for the christening. He recognized the two survivors, Lewis and Phillips.
"These sailors will never be forgotten," said Rowsell. "I believe that the experiences that all of us have endured have shown us that hope never dies, compassion never sleeps and love is indeed eternal. I thank the U.S. Navy for keeping the memory of Commodore Truxtun and the ship's crew alive, and I thank the shipbuilders of Northrop Grumman who surpassed great odds and have shown true leadership, grit and stalwart determination."