USS Cowpens Sailors Commemorate 234th Anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens
COWPENS, S.C. -- Three Sailors assigned to the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) traveled from the ship's homeport in San Diego to Cowpens, South Carolina, in order to help the city commemorate the 234th anniversary of the historic Battle of Cowpens, Jan. 17-18.
Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Jordan M. Vankuren, Operations Specialist 1st Class Tommie D. Walker Jr., and Lt. j.g. Joseph R. Kessenich were invited by the city's "Mighty Moo" committee and represented the ship in their namesake city during two days of commemoration activities.
The three Sailors spent their first morning participating in a wreath-laying ceremony with members of the community, National Park Service representatives, and period re-enactors at the Cowpens National Battlefield.
That afternoon the Sailors visited local businesses, met with town residents, and toured the local museum dedicated to the former USS Cowpens (CVL 25) and the current ship.
The Sailors finished off their first day in Cowpens with a banquet hosted by the Moo Committee, where they met the city's mayor, distinguished guests, and other fans of their much-loved cruiser.
On day two of the visit, the group returned to the historic battlefield to present a command plaque to the National Park Service. Following the commemoration ceremony, the Sailors presented medals to individuals who had participated in a 20-mile march to the legendary battlefield, symbolic of Gen. Daniel Morgan's march to the Cowpens pastureland 234 years earlier.
"I really appreciated the love and respect the town of Cowpens showed us during our visit," said Walker. "The museum is something to marvel at and should be seen by every Sailor aboard USS Cowpens."
Once their busy day was complete, the Sailors spent the rest of their time in Cowpens visiting businesses, admiring the 20-foot mural of both CVL 25 and CG 63, and enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the community.
Due to the ship's operational schedule, crew members aren't always able to visit the city during the anniversary of the battle or the Mighty Moo festival held each year during the summer to honor the ship. In addition to the annual visits, students from Cowpens Elementary School send holiday letters to the crew every year.
After returning to San Diego, the Sailors said they were humbled by the incredible hospitality and generosity of the people of Cowpens.
According to the ship's leadership, the crew is on a mission to become the best ship on the San Diego waterfront and is glad they were able to reestablish their strong relationship with the people of Cowpens, South Carolina, by sending Sailors to represent the ship during the commemoration.