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Thursday November 4, 1999 :

New AEGIS Destroyer To Be Christened "LASSEN" At Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding

WOODLAND HILLS, Ca., USA ( Litton Industries Press Release ) - A search and rescue helicopter pilot, who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for rescuing two downed aviators in Vietnam in June 1968, will be honored at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, 1999, when the newest U.S. Navy destroyer is christened ``LASSEN'' at Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Litton Industries, Inc

Mrs. Linda Barbara Lassen of Pensacola, Fla., will christen the Aegis guided missile destroyer DDG 82 in honor of her late husband, at the pinnacle of ceremonies at Ingalls' facilities on the west bank of the Pascagoula River. Joining Mrs. Lassen as co-sponsor will be Mrs. Barbara Orbon Pilling, wife of Admiral Donald L. Pilling, USN, Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

U.S. Rep. Steven T. Kuykendall of California's 36th Congressional District will deliver the ceremony's principal address.

The public is invited to view the ship's champagne christening, a patriotic ceremony steeped in naval tradition. Bus transportation will be provided from the shipyard's west bank parking lots to and from the ceremony site. Guests are requested to be at Ingalls by 10:30 a.m. The 125-member Panther Band from Pascagoula High School will entertain guests before the ceremony.

Maid of Honor for the christening ceremony will be Ms. Lynnell Marie Lassen, of Atlanta, Ga., daughter of the ship's namesake. Serving as Matrons of Honor will be Mrs. Pilling's daughters, Mrs. Jennifer Pilling Stopkey and Mrs. Kathleen Pilling Posivak.

In naming DDG 82, the United States Navy honors Commander Clyde Everett Lassen, USN, (1942-1994), a native of Fort Myers, Fla., who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous rescue of two downed aviators while commander of a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam.

LT Lassen became the first naval aviator and fifth Navy man to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam. His list of decorations include the Air Medal (First Strike/Flight Award); Presidential Unit Citation; Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze stars and Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device.

The two rescued naval aviators are expected to attend DDG 82's christening ceremony, as are members of Lassen's helicopter crew.

Ceremony speakers will include Admiral Pilling, Vice Admiral Edward Moore Jr., USN, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Rear Admiral William W. Cobb Jr., USN, Program Executive Officer for Theater Air Defense and Surface Combatants, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (RD&A); Rear Admiral Paul S. Schultz, USN, Special Assistant to the Director, Surface Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; Captain Harry J. Rucker Jr., USN, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Pascagoula; Jerry St. Pe, Executive Vice President, Litton Industries and Chief Operating Officer, Litton Ship Systems; and Pat Keene, President, Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding.

The U.S. Navy's Aegis program, of which LASSEN is the newest ship, is one of the most important shipbuilding programs in America today. Truly multimission combatants, Aegis ships are designed to provide primary protection for the Navy's battle forces, but are also the most balanced surface warships ever built, equipped with the weapons, electronics, helicopter support facilities, and propulsion, auxiliary and survivability systems to carry out the U.S. Navy's missions today, and into the next century.

Litton Ingalls brings to the destroyer program a wealth of experience in the Aegis program. As lead shipbuilder for the Navy's first Aegis shipbuilding program, the TICONDEROGA (CG 47) Class of Aegis guided missile cruisers, Litton Ingalls built and delivered 19 of the 27 ships in the cruiser program. The shipyard's first 12 Aegis destroyers are now in the Fleet. A 13th Ingalls-built Aegis destroyer, USS ROOSEVELT (DDG 80), will be commissioned next year. Following LASSEN, Litton Ingalls has contracts and options to produce 11 additional Aegis destroyers, with four of those ships in various stages of production.

Lead shipbuilder for five of the Navy's most advanced surface combatant programs, Litton Ingalls has delivered 77 major surface warships into the Navy's Fleet since 1975, a significant portion of the surface combatants delivered during the period.

The Litton Ship Systems (LSS) organization, which includes Litton Ingalls and Litton Avondale Industries in metro New Orleans, La., has combined revenues of approximately $1.8 billion in the shipbuilding and ship modernization market. With its 17,000 employees, LSS is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction and life cycle support of major combatant vessels for the U.S. Navy, international navies and commercial customers.

Litton Industries, headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., is also a leader in worldwide technology markets for advanced defense, electronic and information systems.