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USS Arleigh Burke celebrates 25th anniversary

USS Arleigh Burke celebrates 25th anniversary

Mike Gooding, WVEC 4:08 PM. EST July 01, 2016

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — An important milestone for the Navy: This weekend marks a quarter-of-a-century since the arrival of the USS Arleigh Burke.

The guided missile destroyer arrived in downtown Norfolk for its Silver Anniversary birthday party, pulling into the open slip at the Half Moon Cruise Terminal.

Twenty five years ago this Fourth of July, the terminal didn’t exist. Neither did Nauticus back in 1991.

And the ship was tied up in the Elizabeth River off Town Point Park for its commissioning. Retired Admiral Arleigh Burke himself was on hand. The World War II Naval hero, then 89 years old, had high hopes for his namesake.

“And may the ship do her duty for many years,” he said.

And that she has. The Burke and her successors in the class are stealthy; they provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities, operating independently or as part of carrier strike groups.

And unlike the battleships of old, which required up to a thousand sailors, Arleigh Burke Class destroyers can get the job done with around 300.

“It allows us to reduce that number of manning that is required in the ship, so it allows us to do more with less,” said Commander Thomas Myers, the ship’s 17th and current commanding officer.

The Norfolk Statue University Class of 1996 graduate appreciates what the Arleigh Burke brings to the fight.

“And it’s adaptable, meaning that as the threat evolves, this platform can evolve to that threat, and it’s going to be around for a long time,” he said.

The Navy apparently decided it liked the Arleigh Burke class of destroyer. It has built 62 of them so far. Fourteen more are under construction, or, planned.

The original, DDG-51, will be open for tours throughout the weekend. And the 25th anniversary ceremony, featuring the Chief of Naval of Operations, Admiral John Richardson, is scheduled for Monday at 10 am. The public is invited to attend.

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