NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson Jr., presented the 2016 Battenberg Cup to the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) during a ceremony aboard the ship Oct. 17.
Originally awarded to the winner of a competition between American and British Sailors, the Battenberg Cup is based on the year's best all-around crew achievement.
In 1941, the trophy, which was awarded to the battleship USS West Virginia (BB 47), was lost with the ship in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Recovered shortly thereafter, the cup was refinished and the competition resumed amongst more than 100 American surface ships, aircraft carriers, and submarines that make up the Atlantic Fleet. Mason is only the fifth destroyer in the last 111 years to receive the award.
"I could not be more proud of Mason Sailors," said Cmdr. Stephen Aldridge, the ship's commanding officer. "It was truly a team effort from our inspection and survey in January, all the way through a tremendously successful deployment which concluded in December."
During the year, Mason conducted an extraordinary amount of operations and events, traveling approximately 64,000 nautical miles in the Atlantic Ocean; Mediterranean Sea; Celtic Sea; Red Sea; Arabian Gulf; Gulf of Oman; and Indian Ocean. On deployment, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 47, Combat Element 3, conducted almost-daily flight operations with 348 sorties resulting in nearly 1,000 hours of flight time.
In one of the numerous events supporting partnership, the crew hosted then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and then-Chief of the Italian Navy Adm. Giuseppe De Giorgi for a showcase of the Great Green Fleet initiative. During the showcase, Mason took on more than 14,000 gallons of biofuel from the Italian Navy oiler ITS Etna (A 5326).
In October 2016, Mason successfully defended itself, three other U.S. warships and multiple U.S. flagged merchant vessels during missile attacks in the Red Sea. Mason employed standard missile (SM-2) defensive interceptors and is the only warship in U.S. naval history to successfully employ the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) while under attack. Mason's actions protected 1,000 U.S. Sailors on the warships and countless more mariners in merchant vessels. Many of Mason's tactical operating procedures and lessons learned across the attacks are now being used to increase combat readiness and toughness across the force.
"Now more than ever, ownership is absolutely critical," Wilson said, during the award presentation. "We must have 100 percent ownership of what we do, regardless of assignment, job or seniority. You have demonstrated this ownership in your behaviors, character, and technical competence.
Wilson presented the ship with the trophy and congratulated the entire crew for their efforts.
"Bravo Zulu to all of you for your remarkable accomplishments," said Wilson.
The award tops off a year of accomplishments for Mason. The crew was also awarded the Golden Anchor award for personnel program excellence, as well as the 2016 Battle Efficiency "E" and unit tactics awards from Destroyer Squadron 26.
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