SAN DIEGO – The crew of the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) was awarded the prestigious 2012 Spokane Trophy during a ceremony on the ship’s flightdeck, Sept. 27.
The Spokane Trophy is an annual award sponsored by the Spokane, Wash., Council of the Navy League of the United States and is presented to the Pacific Fleet's surface ship with the highest level of operational readiness in areas ranging from coordinated air warfare, surface warfare and undersea warfare operations.
“It’s my honor to present this plaque to the crew,” said retired Navy Capt. Ted McGregor, president of the Spokane Navy League. “Since we can’t bring the actual trophy, the Spokane Council developed a plaque and we are honored to recognize the crew of USS Mobile Bay this monring.”
During the ceremony, McGregor spoke about colorful history of the Spokane Trophy, its beginnings as an award for excellence in naval gunnery marksmanship, and its unique ties to Theodore Roosevelt and the silver industry in the Spokane area.
The award was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to recognize naval warfighting proficiency. The actual trophy, created from 400 ounces of silver and valued in excess of $4 million, was donated by the Navy League and is kept on permanent display at the Naval Surface Force headquarters building in San Diego.
Mobile Bay received the award for attaining excellence in air, surface and undersea warfare areas. The ship set a new performance standard while serving as the air defense commander for back-to-back deployments in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.
Rear Adm. Douglas J. Asbjornsen, Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve; Deputy Commander, Naval Air Forces; and Deputy Commander Naval Air Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet, joined officials from the Spokane Navy League to present the commemorative plaque to members of the crew.
“As I was walking down the pier this morning, the first thing that impressed me was how good the ship looks, especially getting ready to go into a maintenance availability,” said Asbjornsen, a Navy reservist who resides in Spokane and helped represent the city during the ceremony. “Then I looked at your history and how many deployments you have done, tip of the spear deployments, and you continue to do the great things you are doing.”
Capt. Timothy J. Kott, Mobile Bay’s commanding officer, credited his predecessor, Capt. Tom Halvorson, and the entire Mobile Bay crew for the ship’s success.
“This is a big day in recognition of everything that Mobile Bay did in 2012,” said Kott. “This culminates how far Mobile Bay has come since the INSURV [Board of Inspection and Survey] inspection in 2011. There is no better recognition than this award.”
Commissioned in 1987, Mobile Bay is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser named after the Battle of Mobile Bay that took place during the American Civil War in 1864. In addition to the Spokane Trophy, the ship was also awarded the 2012 Battle Efficiency (Battle E) Award earlier this year.