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DDG 90 Chafee

The Navy's newest destroyer, bearing the name of the late Rhode Island Sen. John Chafee, was christened with champagne and fireworks on 11 November 2002. Bath Iron Works made history with the first warship to be built at a $240 million land-level transfer facility designed to make the Navy shipbuilder more efficient. Because of the modernization, the Chafee was the first Bath-built ship that did not go into the Kennebec River with a splash. Instead, it was transferred into a dry dock and floated a week before the ceremony.

The keel for Chafee was ceremonially "laid" at Bath Iron Works at the opening of its new land-level ship facility on May 5, 2001. DDG 90 and DDG 92 are on BIW's new Land Level Facility -- Chafee and Momson are being assembled next to each other. CHAFEE is the first ship at BIW to be built on the new facility. This new facility replaced BIW's traditional inclined building ways, as well as the yard's drydock facility at Portland, Maine. Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics Company, dedicated its new $240 million land-level transfer facility on Saturday, May 5, 2001. The shipyard began its modernization in November of 1998. The centerpiece of the modernization, a 750-foot long dry dock, arrived in February 2001.

The bow sections were put in place on 18 October, 2001. Chafee's sonar dome was positioned in place for welding, June 5, 2002. Precommissioning Unit Chafee, Phase One, officially commenced on 13 May, 2002. The CO and Command Master Chief were present for a "command-wide" cookout, complete with cake-cutting ceremony.

Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are equipped to operate with battle groups in high-threat environments and conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. They also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern AEGIS combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies into a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward...From the Sea." These destroyers replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet. The ship will carry Standard surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar-controlled Phalanx close-in weapons systems; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; two torpedo launchers; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

USS Chafee was formally commissioned on October 18, 2003 at Newport, Rhode Island.

USS Chaffee was the first ship to receive tactical rounds of the Evolved SEASPARROW Missile, receiving her first shipment in February 2004.


The President has announced his decision to name the 40th ship of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer to honor Sen. John Hubbard Chafee of Providence, R.I., (1922-1999). Chafee distinguished himself as a U.S. senator, Navy secretary, Rhode Island governor, and a Marine - with service as both an enlisted man and commissioned officer.

In 1940, Chafee graduated from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass. He received degrees from Yale University in 1947 and Harvard University law school in 1950. Chafee served in the Marines during World War II, spending his 20th birthday on Guadalcanal. In 1951, he was recalled to active service to be a Marine rifle company commander during the Korean War. In 1956, he successfully ran for a seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives where he was reelected in 1958 and 1960. In 1962, Chafee was elected governor of Rhode Island and named chairman of the National Association of Republican Governors in 1967. He was appointed as secretary of the Navy in 1969. His tenure as secretary was marked by a willingness to make bold decisions and stand by them. Emblematic of this was his decision to elevate Adm. Elmo Zumwalt as chief of naval operations over 33 more senior officers, and his judicious handling of the USS PUEBLO case. In 1976, Chafee was elected to the U.S. Senate and served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. Having made these matters a chief concern, he will long be remembered as a leader on environmental issues.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:55:08 ZULU