21 Sailors attached to the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to rekindle ties to the local citizens, educate the crew members about their namesake, and build teamwork within the ship’s leadership May 18-21, 2018.
During the visit, the crew visited the Gettysburg National Park Museum and received an official tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park. During the tour, Sailors, through first hand interaction with the battlefield, learned the significance of the site. The group also helped to maintain headstones on the battlefield to preserve the uniform appearance of the rows of grave markers.
The town’s leadership hosted a reception at the American Legion Post #202 where Gettysburg Mayor Theodore Streeter presented a Key to the Borough to the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Corey Keniston. In return, Lt. j.g. Jeff Bortz, the ship’s navigator, presented a Navy Jack that had flown over the ship to the borough for display in the USS Gettysburg Room located in their Town Hall.
“This trip marks a new beginning in our nearly three-decade long relationship with USS Gettysburg,” said retired Navy commander John Murphy, Chairman of the USS Gettysburg Commissioning Committee. “It serves to reestablish the commitment and bond between this historic community and our ship.”
Master Chief Fire Controlman (Aegis) Christopher Allen reenlisted at the train station where Abraham Lincoln arrived for the Gettysburg Address. This ceremony was a rare opportunity for townspeople to witness a Navy reenlistment.
“I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support and hospitality of the citizens of Gettysburg,” said Keniston. “The battlefield experience has brought home the heroism that saturated both sides of the field. As USS Gettysburg is modernized and the crew is reformed, I intend to integrate the spirit and pride the town takes in their history into the command. It is important for today’s Sailor to understand the legacy they have inherited from their ship’s namesake. We will strive to be worthy of the reputation earned by our predecessors associated with the name Gettysburg.”
Gettysburg is participating in the LSD/Cruiser Modernization program to extend the Guided Missile Cruiser’s service life and expects to return to the fleet in 2019. Members of the crew will return for an official visit to participate in the Battlefield Anniversary Celebration and continue community relations with the Borough the first week of July.