KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – The newest member of the US Naval Fleet will be officially commissioned Saturday in Key West. The USS Spruance, a guided missile destroyer, will officially join the fleet in ceremonies at the US Naval Air Station in Key West.
The ceremony is to take place on the island city’s Truman Waterfront at Naval Air Station Key West.
The ship, which will carry the Naval designation DDG 111, is what the Naval terms an Arliegh-Burke class destroyer. It contains both offensive and defensive weapons, and according to the Navy, can fight in the air, on the surface, and below the waves at the same time.
At almost 510 feet long, Spruance is a multi-mission ship that carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, a 5-inch gun, sonar systems and two helicopters. The vessel is powered by four gas-turbine engines and can reach speeds of more than 30 knots.
Highlights of the commissioning ceremony are to include the traditional raising of the ship’s colors and a flyover by the Navy’s Sun Downers Fighter Squadron as the Spruance crew mans the ship at sunset. Despite a long Naval history, this is the first time a Navy ship has been commissioned in the nation’s southernmost city.
This is the second Naval ship named for Admiral Raymond Spruance, famed for his actions in the World War II Battle of Midway and other pacific fleet battles. The first Spruance was the blueprint for an entire class of destroyers bearing that name, and served 32 years before it was retired in 2005.
Spruance died in 1969, but his granddaughter, Ellen Spruance Holscher, will serve as the ship’s sponsor in Saturday’s ceremonies.
The ceremonies begin at 6:30 Saturday, and can be viewed live online here.