USS Nassau Celebrates 30th Birthday with Plankowners

Story Number: NNS090729-01Release Date: 7/29/2009 5:31:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Pankau, USS Nassau Public Affairs

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

A former crew member, a crew member and the commanding officer cut a cake in the hangar bay of Nassau to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ship's commissioning.
090725-N-6439C-080 NORFOLK (July 25, 2009) Retired Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate R. L. Mayes, left, a plank owner of the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4), Seaman Recruit Cory Powell and Capt. Ronald Reis, commanding officer of Nassau, cut a cake in the hangar bay of Nassau to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ship's commissioning. Nassau was commissioned July 28, 1979 at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda Clayton/Released)
July 28, 2009
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