NORFOLK (NNS) -- Family, friends, distinguished visitors, plankowners, and past and present crew members of USS Nassau (LHA 4) came together at Naval Station Norfolk to celebrate the ship's 30th birthday July 25.
"Today we celebrate the 30th birthday of one of our nation's revered warships, USS Nassau," said the ship Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis in his welcoming address. "Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., laid Nassau's keel on Aug. 13, 1973 and the Navy commissioned her on July 28, 1979. Many have said, and I truly believe, that when they built Nassau, they built her right!"
Reis recounted the history of Nassau and her many accomplishments before inviting everyone to enjoy refreshments prepared by Nassau's NEY Award-winning culinary specialists and entertainment by the USO's Liberty Bells singing group.
Amphibious Squadron 8 Commodore Capt. John Bruening, who will embark aboard Nassau on her upcoming deployment, said he couldn't wait to work with the crew.
"When you walk up to her on the pier, you'd never guess that Nassau's 30-years-old," Bruening said. "The hangar bay presentation blew me away as well. It's not hard to see why the ship's culinary specialists are so highly awarded."
Bob Ianucci, Nassau's first executive officer, remembered the speech he gave his crew during their first underway.
"I told my crew if we do it right, maybe someone in the future will too," Ianucci said. "If we screw up, however, they'll all blame us. All the plankowners I spoke with are amazed at how well she's been maintained. Obviously, we did something right, and it makes my day to see today's crew is too."
Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stan Kopiczak said he felt a sense of pride being a part of such a great ship.
"What a great opportunity for Nassau's old timers to come aboard and impart wisdom on today's Sailors! I'm honored to be here to welcome the plankowners and excited they were able to plan their anniversary around our celebration."
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4.