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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has named its newest Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer the Mason, the third time the service has used that name.

When Sen. Olympian Snowe, R-Maine, gave the order “man our ship and bring her to life,” during Saturday’s commissioning ceremony at Port Canaveral, Fla., the 9,200-pound vessel officially became the USS Mason.

The USS Mason is the 21st Arleigh Burke class destroyer built by Bath Iron Works of Maine and will be homeported in Norfolk, Va.

It’s the third destroyer in the Navy’s history to hold that name, though not all have been named after the same person, said Lt. Cmdr. Danny Hernandez, a Navy spokesman.

The first Mason, hull number DD-191, was named for John Young Mason, who served as both the 16th and the 18th Secretary of the Navy; from March 26, 1844, to March 10, 1845, and Sept. 10, 1846 to March 7, 1849.

DD-191 was a 1,190-ton Clemson class destroyer commissioned in February 1920. Two years later, however, the ship was put out of commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard — but recommssioned in December 1939 to aid in the outbreak of World War II, according to a Navy Web site.

The ship was stationed in the Atlantic until October 1940, and then transferred to Great Britain as part of the “Destroyers for Bases” agreement. It subsequently was renamed the Broadwater, and in mid-October 1941, while escorting a convoy to the south of Iceland, the HMS Broadwater was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine.

The second time the name was used, the Navy named its 1,140-ton Evarts class destroyer in honor of Ensign Newton Henry Mason, a pilot killed in action during the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942.

The vessel, DE-529, was commissioned in March 1944 with a largely black crew and used for escort duties in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea in WWII. The USS Mason was decommissioned in October 1945 and was sold for scrapping in March 1947.

Now, the third time around, DDG-87, honors the first two vessels, and Cmdr. David Gale, of Lebanon, NY., will lead destroyer’s first crew of 365 officers and enlisted personnel.

The vessel is 510 feet long, has an overall beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 30 feet. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The Mason is the 37th ship of the 62 Arleigh Burke class of destroyers that Congress has approved. Guided missile destroyers work as multimission vessels, to include anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.


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