Friday, April 17, 2009

USS Stockdale, The Navy's Newest Ship, To Be Commissioned This Saturday

USS Stockdale (DDG 106), the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, will be Commissioned at Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme on Saturday, April 18 at 11:00 during a formal ceremony featuring H. Ross Perot as the Honorary Chair for the event and Admiral Keating as the Keynote Speaker. An estimated 100 Vietnam Veterans and former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients and family members are attending this historic commissioning and the surrounding events. The fast warship - which is the same class of Navy ship as the USS Bainbridge deployed to the waters off Somalia to help in the rescue efforts of Capt. Roberts Phillips - will provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. As the first destroyer named for the Navy's highest ranking POW, the ship embodies the spirit and patriotism of Medal of Honor Recipient Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale.
Former POW, Charlie Plumb - who himself was held prisoner for six years Northern Vietnam - has been involved in the Stockdale Commissioning and says of the event, "We Ex-POW's from the Vietnam war see the commissioning of the USS Stockdale as more than just putting a new destroyer into naval service. This great ship represents an American icon, Admiral James Bond Stockdale. Many of us owe our very lives to this great leader." The Ventura/Santa Barbara visit is fitting for the Commissioning Ceremony as the Santa Barbara Council of the Navy League of the United States was invited to adopt the USS Stockdale last October. Following the Commissioning event, The Navy League of the United States - Santa Barbara Council, is hosting an afternoon POW "Return with Honor" Reunion, recognizing the late Stockdale, his wife Sybil, Charlie Plumb and his fellow POWs as well as the future heroes preparing to serve aboard the USS Stockdale (DDG 106). A live television feed of the Commissioning Ceremony and the POW "Return with Honor" Reunion will be made available @

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