WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence, Saturday, June 4, 2011, during an 11 a.m. CDT ceremony at Pier 2, Alabama State Docks, Mobile, Ala.
Designated DDG 110, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence. 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 in June 1967 and he remained a POW until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs.
Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., commander, U.S. Northern Command will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Diane Lawrence, widow of the ship's namesake and Vice Adm. Lawrence's daughters, Dr. Laurie Lawrence, and retired Navy Capt. Wendy Lawrence, will serve as sponsors of the ship.
William P. Lawrence,the 60th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. William P. Lawrence will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare.
Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams II will become the first commanding officer of the ship. The 9,200-ton William P. Lawrence was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss. 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.