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The Legend Lives
More than 3,000 turn out at USS Farragut DDG-99 commissioning

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, FLA. — As thousands watched, the U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Farragut, during a ceremony Saturday, June 10, in Mayport, Fla. Taking the helm of the warship was Cmdr. Deidre L. McLay, who thanked those in attendance for their support.

“We could not have reached this milestone without the strong support and encouragement from all of you,” she said in a prepared statement. “Farragut is a great ship. The craftsmanship and expertise of the shipbuilding team, centered around Bath Iron Works, has produced yet another fine warship ready to go forth and do its duty to execute a multitude of missions.

“A ship needs a crew to care for her and to employ weapons and systems fully. Farragut has a great crew. Drawing talent from almost every kind of ship in our navy, and including both the newest sailors with under a year of service and the experienced hands with years of deployments, our crew of almost three hundred is honored to be the first crew of Farragut,” McLay said.

Rear Adm. Mark Busby said the ship will “join the most combat-capable force that has ever put to sea. Just like its namesake, it will be a leader, a technological pacesetter, focusing on the power and intent of our nation upon the challenges and responsibilities of a new century.”

Busby said the crew follows in the wake of “those who have long gone down to the sea in ships … and as the plankowners, will set the standard for this fine ship and carry forward into the twenty-first century Adm. Farragut’s legacy of relentless fighting spirit, aggressive courage and heroism in combat. … Just look at this ship, from stem to stern, she’s five hundred and nine feet of an enemy’s worst nightmare. How I pity those who would stand in her way.”

The ship’s name honors Adm. (James) David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870), who was born on the banks of the Tennessee River near what is now the town of Farragut.

Farragut hailed from a seafaring family and was adopted by David Porter, from whom he received the name we are now familiar with.

Under the watchful eye of Porter, Farragut became skilled in the ways of shipboard life by age 8 and by his 12th birthday, Farragut had already commanded a vessel.

One of the Union’s great heroes, Farragut gained fame for his exploits while in command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. In 1862, his ships fought past Confederate forts to capture New Orleans. In 1863, at Port Hudson, his forces gained control of the Mississippi River splitting the Confederacy.

In 1864, Rear Adm. Farragut rallied his men to victory, shouting: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” and led all but one of his 18 ships safely through the channel to win the Battle of Mobile Bay, one of the most celebrated victories in American naval history.

Four previous ships have been named Farragut: a torpedo boat, TB-11 (1899-1919); a destroyer, DD-300 (1920-1930); a second destroyer, DD-348 (1934-1945) that earned 14 battle stars in World War II (including Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, Eastern Solomons, Iwo Jima and Okinawa); and a guided-missile destroyer, DDG-37 (1960-1989) that took part in contingency operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and earned a Navy Unit commendation.

Designated DDG-99, Farragut is the 49th ship of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers. This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations in support of the national Military Strategy, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Farragut will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship contains numerous offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st Century.


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