Friday, May 20, 2016

USS Zumwalt DDG 1000 Commissioning in October

One of the true heroes to come out of the Vietnam War is Admiral Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr.  Zumwalt was commissioned from the Naval Academy in June of 1942, and immediately went to the Pacific to serve in Destroyers, the USS Phelps DD 360 and later in USS Robinson DD 562 in the Philippines liberation campaign.   Robinson was integrally involved in the Battle of Surigao Strait, and Zumwalt was awarded a Bronze Star with V for Valor for his work in Robinson's Combat Information Center as an evaluator.  His career afloat was in Destroyers, with the exception of a stint in USS Wisconsin BB 64.

During the Vietnam War, Admiral Zumwalt served in the dual role of Commander Naval Forces Vietnam and Chief of the Naval Advisory Group, Military Assistance Command Vietnam [MACV].  During that time he was in command of the "Brown Water Navy", the small craft that ran the creeks and rivers, and estuaries of the Republic of South Vietnam.  His son, Elmo R. Zumwalt III served in the Riverine Navy and later died from multiple cancers certainly the result of exposure to the deadly Dioxin, the active poison in the Rainbow Herbicides [Agents Orange, Blue, etc.].  He later became perhaps the best "sailors' Admiral to serve as Chief of Naval Operations.  He was known there for his innovative ideas and concepts toward replacing the aging WW II fleet, and for his Z-grams, with which he kept in touch with every sailor in the US Navy.  He changed personnel policy allowing longer hair, beards and mustaches, beer in barracks, and expanded when sailors would wear civvies, among other personnel related issues..  In short, he made life a bit more relaxed for the sailors.  He championed racial equality, though it was a tough fight against long-serving enlisted and commissioned personnel. 

The loss of his son spurred Zumwalt to research, fundraising for more research and eventually, to create the document that became the Agent Orange Act of 1991.  Admiral Zumwalt died in 2000, after a fight against mesothelioma, attributed to exposure to asbestos while in the Navy.  Two years later the Veterans Administration removed the Blue Water Navy from presumptive exposure to Agent Orange, thus kicking them out of the coverage for AO related diseases. 

Now we come to the well-deserved honor bestowed on his memory and his heritage.  The USS Zumwalt DDG 1000, the first of its class of Guided Missile Destroyers, was recently christened by his two daughters in a pier-side ceremony at Bath Iron Works Shipyard, Bath Maine.  The ship will undergo more shakedown and systems testing over the summer and into the fall, until October 15, 2016, when the USS Zumwalt DDG 1000, will be commissioned as a United States Ship, during Fleet Week in Baltimore, Maryland.  The ceremony is to take place next to Fort McHenry.

We are pleased to announce that we have become sponsors of the USS Zumwalt and will be attending the Commissioning event.  Anyone else who would like to become a sponsor should visit this website:

USS Zumwalt DDG 1000 Commissioning.

As is noted on the website:  "Sponsorships and individual donations will ensure a healthy USS Zumwalt Crew and Legacy Fund for the 30-year life of the ship: a fund managed by trustees whose mission is to support the enlisted crew in the spirit of Admiral Zumwalt." 

For all of us who served in Vietnam, and those who came after us, we all recognize the legacy that the Admiral left with the Navy, particularly with the enlisted men.  Perhaps it is time for us to pay it forward, and return a portion of that good will and hard work of his, and donate to the USS Zumwalt Crew and Legacy Fund. 

Contributions can be made online ( www.usszumwalt.org ) or via check made payable to:
            USS Zumwalt Crew and Legacy Fund
            2825 Eagles Mere Court
            Ellicott City,  MD 21042
 
Without Admiral Zumwalt there likely would be no Agent Orange Act of 1991.  That alone should be enough to open your heart and your wallet.  

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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