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  No. 223-03


The newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Mason, will be commissioned on Saturday, April 12, 2003, during an 11 a.m. ceremony in Port Canaveral, Fla. She will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., with a crew of 365 officers and enlisted personnel. Cmdr. David Gale of Lebanon, N.Y., will become Mason's first commanding officer.

The assistant secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller Dional M. Aviles will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine is serving as ship sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Snowe will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

Mason is the 21st Arleigh Burke class ship built by Bath Iron Works. The ship is 510 feet in length, has an overall beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 30 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the 9,200-ton ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Mason is the 37th ship of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. These highly capable, multi-mission ships can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the National Military Strategy.

The ship will be acapable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.