ANN CLAIRE PHILLIPS ' 83
'When I read the history
the Mustin Jamily, particularly Lloyd Mustin
reading his diaries,
how theyfought back, how they did damage control
what I would do. You do think about that.'
Cmdr. Ann Claire Phillips
Originally developed to counter small torpedo boats that attacked larger ships, the "tor-
pedo boat destroyer" has evolved into a
multimission ship that typically escorts
battle groups ofaircraft carriers or
amphibious ships but can operate on its
is the 39th of the Navy's
destroyers, which debuted in 1991.
which was hit by sui-
cide bombers in the Aden, Yemen, har-
bor in 2000, is an
is 509 feet long, about half
the length of a carrier; at 30-plus knots,
one of the Navy's fastest ship; crew of
32-plus officers and 348 enlisted. Range
is 4,400 miles at 20 knots.
It is armed with standard surface-to-
air missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles,
anti-submarine weapon and Evolved
Sea Sparrow missiles, launched from
flush deck vertical launching systems;
torpedoes launched from the deck from
two triple tubes;
and a 5-inch, 62-
caliber gun that
shells up to 12
miles. It has a heli-
deck and hangars
for two helicopters.
are the Navy's first
warships designed with double air-
locked hatches and positive interior
pressurization to protect against nuclear,
biological and chemical contaminants.
They have 70 tons ofsteel armor.
Launched in December 2001 and
commissioned in July 2003,
the second destroyer named for the
family of Capt. Henry C. Mustin, who
conunanded naval aircraft combat mis-
sions before World W1I I and was the
first person to fiy a plane catapulted
from a ship; his son Vice Adm. Lloyd
M. Mustin, who fought in World War
II; and Lloyd Mustin's sons, both com-
bat-decorated Vietnam War veterans.
The ship's motto is
(Always Be Bold).
Cost: Roughly $1 billion.
named for Henry Mustin, was conunis-
sioned in 1939 and saw heavy action in
the war in the
Pacific. It became a
practice target and
was destroyed in
1948 after being
radiation in the
Bikini Atoll tests.
r/ 0 c
War II], reading his diaries, how they
fought back, how they did damage control,
what I would do. You do think about that.
You think about a lot ofother things, too.
Do we have enough food."
Phillips is into everything as she prowls
the ship, the way she was during construc-
tion. She happens upon a fire drill and
attends to a brief scare when a sailor reacts
badly to her breathing gear. Next stop, she's
trying to find out why water drips from
the galley ceiling. She wishes she could fire
more missiles (the Navy has cut way back
on live firing for practice). One bad thing
about standing on the deck observing a
training operation, she says, you notice all
In 21 years she has grabbed at every-
thing the Navy's thrown at her, and it has
thrown a lot. Once, she took a job for
which she knew she wasn't qualified. But
she thought it was the toughest depart-
ment-head job available to a woman at the
time, and she wanted it.
So Phillips trained to be chief engineer,
but when she got to the
says, she had no clue how to run a depart-
ment. "I was u1Ullediately overvvhelmed."
The ship's captain told her later that he'd
have fired her but he knew he couldn't get
anybody else at the time.
"Some really bad things happened -
dangerous things - because of my igno-
rance," she said. "But gradually I learned. A
fellow officer I liked gave me lots of sup-
port. I'd rehearse conversations with him
before going to meet with the captain. In
the end I got smarter. I just didn't quit. I
probably thought about it, but I didn't."
She was smarter, way more sure of her-
self on the day in late 1995 when the F- 14
Phillips was secretary to an adnllial,
handling staff logistics. Her at-sea job on
was tactical action
officer for the carrier's battle group.
When on watch in the admiral's
absence, this officer is Ul charge of the bat-
tle group, including weapons authority -
essentially standing in for the adnUral.
She acknowledged the story a superior
in this issue
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