Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, distinguished guests, good morning.
Veterans, shipbuilders, crew, family, and friends, thank you for joining us today.
It is an honor to represent the Navy and Secretary Braithwaite, at Mayport for the commissioning of the USS St. Louis.
It is particularly meaningful because the USS St. Louis is a littoral combat ship bearing the namesake of the best river port in America. St. Louis, known as the gateway city, has long supported our nation’s armed forces and veterans.
Although living in Washington, D.C., St. Louis will always be my home. In the mid ‘70’s I was stationed in Jacksonville and it is where I met my wife, a high school teacher at Ed White. I still have relatives and friends here and enjoy coming back to visit. It is a community that loves the Navy and the crew will be pleased to be homeported here.
Jacksonville supports four commands: Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Marine Corps Blount Island, and Naval Station Mayport, and it is this seaport where we gather.
Together, these operations host more than 43,000 military and civilian personnel and their families.
For over eighty years Jacksonville is proud to host these bases whose operations are crucial to the mission of your Navy and defense of our country. We look forward to many more years of that partnership.
On behalf of your Navy, thanks to all those who worked so hard to make today’s event possible.
I want to express the Navy’s deep appreciation to the Taylor family. Much of what they do is anonymous but believe me when I say they are the preeminent philanthropic family of the St. Louis community and a donor to navy causes.
The Taylor family has been one of the most engaged sponsors the navy has worked with. As Barb said in a personal note “I want this to be the best commissioning ever” and she put her energies all in to that end. Her father General Edwin Broadhurst and father in law Jack Taylor, both WWII aviators, would be proud of her efforts.
The Taylor family has been actively involved in every step of the USS St. Louis’ journey, from the keel laying in the spring of 2017, its christening in December of 2018, and its commissioning today. They will forever be connected to this ship, its crew and its history. Being a sponsor is a Navy tradition of great significance. Sponsors of USS St. Louis predecessor ships included President Grover Cleveland’s wife Frances; Gladys Bryant Smith, 1906 Class Of Mary I; Nancy Lee Morrill, 1937 Veiled Prophet Queen related to Robert Brookings of the Brookings Institute And Washington University; and Leonor K Sullivan, 1st woman in Congress from Missouri.
To the sponsor and crew “non sibi sed patriae”, not for self but for country. These words are inscribed at the Naval Academy Chapel and refer to sacrifice made on behalf of naval service.
Barbara and Andy, thank you for your generosity. I am proud to share our common interest in the St. Louis community and to be with you today.
From Marinette, Wisconsin to Jacksonville, Florida, and beyond, the USS St. Louis is a multi-mission combatant ready to represent the city of St. Louis throughout its operational life and legacy.
The USS St. Louis has been designed to protect and guide our crew to carry forth its slogan, “gateway to freedom”.
Today we commission the USS St. Louis, and we challenge this new littoral combat ship and her crew with continuing the distinguished legacy of past vessels that have had the honor to bear our hometown’s name.
This will be the 7th ship named USS St. Louis. Its predecessors participated in the civil war, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War.
This seventh USS St. Louis will undoubtedly follow the legacies of her predecessors.
She will be able to leverage the unique and advanced capabilities of the freedom-class littoral combat ships, including cyber upgrades, flight decks that support integrated helicopter launches and their ability to dispatch and reclaim boats for special forces operations.
She will boldly go forth to complete her primary mission of countering submarines, surface ships and mines on the high seas and the littorals to protect U.S. interests.
She will be efficient, agile, and capable of handling whatever comes her way.
She will honorably bear the name of the city of St. Louis, defending the strategic interests of the United States and our allies across the globe.
To the sailors, go make your own history but never forget the significance of those who have gone before you, the strategic missions that you have been trusted to support, and the legacy that you and this ship will carry on from this day forward. I know you will make St. Louisans and all Americans proud.
Thank you to everyone who made today possible. We are blessed to celebrate this timeless naval tradition and witness the continuing legacy of both the city of St. Louis and the United States Navy.
Captain, I hope you will correspond with Mrs. Taylor from time to time on the great accomplishments of your ship. As you go in harm’s way we’re counting on you and your crew. Fair winds, following seas, God speed!
08 August 2020
10 August 2020
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