Story by Max Lonzanida on 10/10/2018In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized official recognition of 13 October as the birthday of the U.S. Navy. Since then, each Chief of Naval Operations has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service." This year, in an All Navy Birthday Message to the Fleet, the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, released the following:
"To our Sailors, civilians, families and friends, for 243 years the Navy has been a global force, forged by the sea, united in a common purpose, ready to fight, respond, and defend wherever there is need."
These words were echoed earlier this week on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, during a historical presentation for the Navy's Birthday. The presentation was coordinated by sailors from the Naval Station Norfolk's First Class Petty Officers Association, and was presented to service members assigned to Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve. Members of the strike group's command staff were present in the packed meeting space. The presentation was held at the Naval Station Norfolk MWR Marina and Sailing Center, and included a presentation by one of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum's own volunteers; Captain Lee Duckworth, USN, Retired. And, in typical celebratory fashion, there was cake afterwards.
Duckworth was previously the Education Director at the Museum for a number of years. Prior to taking on that role, he served as Naval Station Norfolk's 47th Commanding Officer, served as the Executive Officer of the USS Tripoli (LPH-10) during the first Gulf War, and served during the Vietnam War. Duckworth provided some remarks on his service, and reflected on some of the actions of service members; with a common theme of being Tough, Bold, and Ready. Duckworth pointed to the actions of some of service's most revered, including Chief Water Tender Peter Tomich, who was aboard the USS Utah (AG-16) during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. For his actions, Tomich was awarded the Medal of Honor, and his citation states:
"Although realizing that the ship was capsizing, as a result of enemy bombing and torpedoing, Chief Water tender Tomich remained at his post in the engineering plant of the U.S.S. UTAH (AG-16), until he saw that all boilers were secured and all fireroom personnel had left their stations, and by so doing lost his own life."
Thereafter, he provided some reflections on the importance of Chief Yeoman Loretta Walsh; whose actions paved the way for females to join the armed forces in the aftermath of World War one. Duckworth also mentioned the actions of a Disbursing Clerk aboard the USS Tripoli (LPH-10), who man handled a hatch when the ship struck a mine. Those actions prevented further flooding aboard the ship; and those actions reflected the keynotes of service members being tough, bold, and ready.
After his historical presentation, Rear Admiral John Wade, Commanding Officer of Carrier Strike Group Twelve provided some closing remarks to echo Duckworth's presentation; and indicated the importance of remembering and reflecting on the past. After those closing remarks, service members had the opportunity to talk to the guest speaker and mingle in a light hearted atmosphere. And in typical fashion, there was a cake that was ceremoniously cut by the youngest service member in the room. The cake cutting was facilitated by Captain Curt Seth, Chief of Staff with Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve.
About the Hampton Roads Naval Museum:
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is one of ten Navy museums that are operated by the Naval History & Heritage Command. It celebrates the long history of the U.S. Navy in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and is co-located with Nauticus in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Admission to the museum is free, simply by-pass the ticket line and take the stairs or elevator to the museum on the second deck. The museum hosts a robust educational program for area schools and commands, with free educational programs to area schools aligned with state curriculum standards, a travelling sea chest program, a premier Lego outreach program, and historical presentations for area commands. To inquire, contact their Educational Director, Laura Orr at Laura.L.Orr@navy.mil or at (757) 322-3018. The museum is also host to a robust volunteer corps, who serve as docents, support special events, and assist in museum archives. To inquire, contact their Volunteer Coordinator, Darcy Sink at Darcy.Sink@navy.mil or at (757) 322-2992. Lastly the museum proudly hosts military ceremonies, such as re-enlistments, retirements, and promotions for area commands aboard the U.S.S Wisconsin and in the museum's gallery. To inquire, contact their special events coordinator, Tom Dandes at Thomas.Dandes@navy.mil or call (757) 322-3106.