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DDG 110 William P. Lawrence

The Navy welcomed guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) into the fleet during a commissioning ceremony in Mobile, Ala., 04 June 2011.

Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced 16 May 2007 that DDG hull number 110 will be named the USS William P. Lawrence to honor Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, who served nearly six years as a prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam and later as superintendent of the Naval Academy. The USS William P. Lawrence will provide dynamic multi-mission platforms to lead the Navy into the future. Using a gas turbine propulsion system the ship can operate independently or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. Combat systems center around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-lD, multi-function phased array radar. The combination of Aegis, the Vertical Launching System, an advanced anti-submarine warfare system, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk, the Arleigh Burke-class continues the revolution at sea.

William P. Lawrence

Lawrence was born Jan. 13, 1930, in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951. At the Naval Academy, he played three varsity sports and was president and brigade commander, in which capacity he helped establish the Brigade Honor concept. He graduated from the Naval Air Test Center as an honor graduate and in 1958 was the first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound.

During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down and he remained a POW until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs. Along with fellow prisoner and naval aviator, Vice Adm. James Stockdale, Lawrence became noted for resistance to his captors. Stockdale remarked that Lawrence, "repeatedly paid the price for being perceived by the enemy as a source of their troubles through his high crime of leadership. He could not be intimidated and never gave up the ship.

In August 1978, he became superintendent of the Naval Academy and subsequently served as commander Third Fleet and chief of naval personnel. Following promotion to rear admiral in 1974, he served as: commander, Light Attack Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet; director Aviation Programs Division on the staff of the chief of naval operations; assistant deputy chief of naval operations (air warfare); superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy; commander, U. S. Third Fleet in the Pacific; and chief of naval personnel, retiring in 1986.




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