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NEWS | Feb. 21, 2016

Keeping the Mobile Bay Alive

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan J. Batchelder

PHILIPPINE SEA –The Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA) aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) hosted the Mobile Bay Commissioning Celebration onFeb. 21. 

Celebrating 29 years of service, Mobile Baycontinues to uphold the war-fighting legacy of the Civil War battle forwhich she is named.The ship is currently deployed to 7th Fleet as Air Defense Commander for the John C. Stennis Strike Group. 

“I feel like this milestone could not have fallen at a better time,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 2nd Class Chelsea Stone, president of the SCPOA. “I think that not only being at sea, but on deployment, while we revisit the ship's previous endeavors,will really help [the commemoration] sink in for people.” 

The ceremony was highlighted by a presentation of the history of the ship, events from the year it was commissioned and a cake-cutting ceremony with two Sailors born in 1987 making the first cut.  

The history of USS Mobile Bay dates back to Aug. 5, 1864,whenUnion forces, under thecommand of Adm. David Farragut,and Confederate forces, under Adm. Franklin Buchanan, engaged each other near the port of Mobile, Ala., the last Confederate port on the Gulf Coast. 

The Confederate Navy littered the only approach to the port of Mobile Bay with mines and other obstructions, known during the American Civil War as torpedoes, with the hope that the bay would remain in their hands. Embarked on USS Hartford, the flagship of an 18-ship force, Farragut was up against the Confederate ironclad flagship, CSS Tennessee, and three other Confederate ships.  

Farragut's fleet moved into the channel, was immediately hit with fire from Fort Morgan, a Confederate emplacement overlooking the bay, breaking up the battle formation. With fire from the fort raining down on his fleet, it was at that moment that Farragut gave the famous order: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” 

Buchanan's fleet of four Confederate ships were overwhelmed by Farragut's fleet and after two hours of heavy fire, Tennessee struck their colors and the wounded Buchanan gave the order to surrender, concluding the pivotal naval battle of the Civil War. 

“The commissioning ceremonyreminds me to take a pause for a few minutes to reflect and recollect on the many achievements Mobile Bay Sailors have accomplished,” said the ship’s command master chief, Dioscoro Crucillo. “It takes a lot dedication and commitment on a daily basis. We have to remind the Sailors of the importance of their job and to take pride in their ship and in what they do.  Every minute of tasking contributes to the overall mission success of the Mobile Bay team.” 

With the SCPOA aboard Mobile Bay still in its infancy, Stone acknowledgedthat the organization’s ability to host this commemoration ceremony was a huge honor.“To be able to support this milestone, especially given Mobile Bay’s impressive history is an awesome opportunity,”said Stone. “We are beyond thankful to be able to have our members present and lead the celebration.”

After the ceremony’s conclusion, members of the crew were invited for cake on the ship’s mess decks. 

“We have a great crew,” said Crucillo. “To be partof the heritage is something we will remember and can share with other Sailors. I’m proud to be aboard the Mobile Bay.” 


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