NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Family, friends, distinguished visitors, plankowners, and past and present crew members of USS Nassau (LHA 4) celebrated the ship's 30th birthday at Naval Station Norfolk July 25.
Nassau Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis thanked everyone in attendance to celebrate Nassau, its past and present crew members, and its service to the nation.
"Today we celebrate the 30th birthday of one of our nation's revered warships, USS Nassau," Reis said in his welcoming address. "Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., laid Nassau's keel on August 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 the 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.
Capt. John Bruening, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 8 who will embark aboard Nassau on its 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," said Ianucci. "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."
"What a great opportunity for Nassau's old-timers to come aboard and impart wisdom on today's Sailors, said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stan Kopiczak. "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 (LHA 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/.