Friday, October 3, 2008

Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer - A Shipmate, Honored

Admiral Wayne E Myer has been honored with a namesake ship: USS Wayne E. Meyers DDG-108. Read all about it in the following story.

Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer - Biography

Wayne E. Meyer was born Brunswick, Missouri, on 21 April 1926. His father and family were livestock and grain farmers, plowing the land referred to by locals as the "gumbo". Meyer's father was displaced in the drought and the Great Depression and lost everything in 1935. He and his family of four children moved eleven miles into clay country five miles North of Brunswick. Wayne and siblings were enrolled in St. Boniface Catholic School, a 2-room schoolhouse. Enrolled in the 140-pupil Brunswick High School in 1939, his primary teacher (and principal) was Miss Edith Marston. Under her tutelage, he and three other boys had been prepared by her to take a three day Armed Services competitive exam in January 1943, which all passed. In April they were called to Kansas City to examine their physical fitness for enlistment in a competitive college program created by President Roosevelt, called the V-12 in the Navy.

He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 12 May 1943 after his parents signed the required papers, as he was only 17 at the time). Meyer graduated from high school on 23 May as president of his class and valedictorian. In June he was called to active duty as Seaman Apprentice, USNR, reporting to the University of Kansas on 1 July.

Meyer was enrolled in the University's Engineering School as his primary duty. He completed eight semesters towards his degree on 1 February 1946. Later that month the Navy ordered the remainder of that Naval Unit (only 35 out of approximately 500 originally) to be commissioned as Ensign USNR, and the University awarded him a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (with Communications and Pre-Radar option). After 11 months at M.I.T. in Radar/Sonar training (and an additional B.S. in Electrical Engineering with an Electronics option), he was ordered to radar picket destroyer USS Goodrich. He qualified for Officer of the Deck underway at the age of 20. Meyer subsequently served as part of the Occupation Forces in the Mediterranean along with service in the Greek Civil War. He was part of the force supporting the creation of Israel in 1948. He was also accepted for transfer to the regular Navy that year.

Over the next two decades he served in the occupation forces in Japanese and in Chinese waters. His ship, the light gun cruiser USS Springfield, was in the mouth of the Huangpu River when Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalist forces fell to Mao Zedong's Red Army in March 1949. Probably the last U.S. warship in China, his ship sailed for home only to head to Hunters Point, San Francisco shipyard for decommissioning. From 1951 through 1955, he attended the Joint Guided Missile School, Fort Bliss, Texas, the Naval Line School, Monterey, California, and served as instructor at the Special (atomic) Weapons School, Norfolk, Virginia. He returned to sea as Executive Officer on USS Strickland followed by service on the Staff, Commander, Destroyer Force, Atlantic.

Later, he returned to Monterey to study Ordnance Engineering, followed again by M.I.T. for 12 months. Here he was awarded one of the early master's degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Then he was ordered to the guided-missile cruiser USS Galveston as Fire Control officer and subsequently Gunnery Officer for her conversion as the first TALOS Cruiser. He has fired, in exercises and tests, more TALOS missiles than any other person.

After an assignment with the Secretary of the Navy's Special Task Force for Surface Missile Systems in Washington, D.C. He transferred to the Naval Ordnance Engineering Corps in 1966.
In 1967, he reported as Director of Engineering at the Naval Ship Missile Systems Engineering Station, Port Hueneme, California and three years later to the Naval Ordnance Systems Command, as Manager, AEGIS Weapons System. He was named Project Manager for Surface Missile Systems in 1972 and in July 1974, he was named the first Director of Surface Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command. He was selected for Admiral in January 1975. In July 1975, he assumed duties as the founding Project Manager, AEGIS Shipbuilding. In September 1983, he was reassigned as Deputy Commander, Weapons and Combat Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command. He retired in 1985.

As of mid-2008 Rear Admiral Meyer operated a consultancy with offices in Crystal City, Virginia. He chairs and serves on numerous Panels and Committees chartered by various DOD civil and military officials. He has served on the National Ballistic Missile Defense Advisory Committee for the past seven years, serving as its Chairman for the past three years. He also gives numerous speeches besides reviewing and editing articles, essays and books.

USS Wayne E. Meyers DDG-108
The Navy received the 100th Aegis weapon system from Lockheed Martin, 27 November 2006, and announced it would be installed into a guided-missile destroyer named in honor of the man recognized as the 'Father of Aegis,' retired Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer. The centennial Aegis system that will be installed in the future USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) came more than 20 years after the first system was delivered to the Navy in 1983 and, according to Lockheed Martin, has eight-times more computing power and costs 66 percent less than the first Aegis baseline. Aegis is widely considered to be the Navy's most successful air defense weapon system and multi-mission combat system in history.

Rear Adm. Meyer was on hand for the ceremony. Remembering something Adm. Arleigh Burke said in the 1950s about integrity, Meyer said he hopes the ship named in his honor, and the Sailors who will sail on her decks, will embody integrity. "I've tried to lead that way, I've tried to be that way, I've tried to raise my kids that way," Meyer said. "And I'm hoping that the Wayne E. Meyer has the capacity also to recognize it."

"Adm. Meyer reminds us that a ship has a name for a reason. Indeed the namesake of a warship inspires the crew and instills a fighting spirit. To have one's name immortalized in an Aegis warship is a high honor indeed," said Adm. Mike Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations. "And that is why DDG 108 will forever be known as United States Ship Wayne E. Meyer."

The 509 foot, 9200 ton, DDG-108 Wayne E. Meyer is a Flight IIA variant of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer and incorporates a helicopter hanger facility into the original design. The ship can each carry two SH-60B/R helicopters in addition to it’s vertical launch missile systems that can fire the RIM-66 Standard Missile 2, Tomahawks or ASROCs. The ship will be crewed by 380 officers and enlisted personnel.

Guided missile destroyers operate independently and in conjunction with carrier strike groups, surface action groups, expeditionary strike groups and replenishment groups. DDG108 will be home ported in San Diego following her commissioning in the fall of 2009.

The picture above is what an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer looks like.