BATH, Maine (NNS) -- On a cold and rainy Nov. 22, in Bath, crewmembers and guests gathered at Bath Iron Works (BIW) to receive the 21st Arleigh Burke-class ship delivered to the Navy by BIW.
With a few strokes of a pen, Capt. John D. Ingram, supervisor of shipbuilding, and Cmdr. David J. Gale, prospective commanding officer, accepted the responsibility of a billion dollar warship on behalf of U.S. Navy.
The keel of USS Mason (DDG 87) was laid on Jan. 23, 2000. On June 23, 2001 Mason was christened, launched and made history by being the last ship to be launched from BIW's inclined ways. Last month Mason had a successful combined A/B trials. Indicative of the trials' success, Mason displayed two brooms, historically signifying a, "clean sweep" upon her return to Bath.
Mr. Allan Cameron, president of Bath Irons Works, said during his remarks that, "We celebrate the culmination of nearly 48 months of hard work and dedication by the Navy/BIW Team. Today, as the Navy takes delivery of Mason, the most sophisticated surface combatant in the world, and as we continue to make final preparations for your move aboard in early January and your departure in mid-March, we feel that the SOSB/BIW shipbuilding team have provided you with a superb ship."
The delivery of Mason authorizes the captain to wear the command at sea insignia. Navy regulations established the wearing of this pin to recognize the awesome responsibility of command. Mr. Jim Graham, president of the USS Mason (DE 529) Veterans Association, presented Gale with his command at sea pin.
Gale concluded the ceremony by asking the crew how they felt about the task that lies ahead and the crew answered, "We are fired up sir!"
Following the ceremony, Graham and the other veteran of DE 529 in attendance, Mr. Lorenzo A. Dufau, had an opportunity to meet with the DDG 87 crewmembers.
Mason is named after both Ensign Newton Henry Mason and the crew of the first USS Mason. Ensign Mason was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his skill and courage in World War II while USS Mason (DE 529) had the distinction of being the only Navy Destroyer to be manned with a predominantly African-American enlisted crew. This was the first time African Americans were permitted to be trained and serve in ratings other than cooks and stewards.
Mason is scheduled to be commissioned at Port Canaveral, Fl., in April, 2003. At that time, she will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and proceed to her new homeport of Norfolk, VA.
For more information about USS Mason (DDG 87), go to www.mason.navy.mil.