Cape St. George Celebrates 236 Years of American Independence
USS CAPE ST. GEORGE, At Sea - The crew of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) paid homage to the nation's 236th birthday with a two-day Independence Day commemoration, July 4-5.
The celebration began with a visit from Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet. After the visit, the ship had a steel beach picnic and concluded the festivities with an all-caliber gunnery demonstration aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
During his visit, Miller congratulated Cape St. George's Sailors of the quarter and reenlisted Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Judd Latimer, July 4. Miller said he was excited to participate in the events aboard Cape.
"Reenlisting Sailors is my favorite thing to do," said Miller. "Back in my day, we were in a Navy that had to retain all of the people it could. Now it's the opposite, and not everyone who wants to stay in the Navy gets to stay. With everything as competitive as it is now, it feels good to see good Sailors continuing to serve."
Miller concluded his visit with an all-hands discussion of future operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) and a tour of the ship.
During the steel beach picnic, the crew feasted on more than 250 pounds of steaks, July 5. The meat was provided by Cooks from the Valley, a Bakersfield, Calif.-based group of volunteers who travel to many commands and ships to cook for service members.
Frank Grimmelmann, a Cooks from the Valley representative, prepared and served hundreds of steaks alongside the crew's food service attendants.
"I just wanted to tell service members how important they are and how important their mission is," said Grimmelmann. "I was in the Marine Corps during Vietnam, so I know how important it is to recognize the troops. Cooks from the Valley is just a bunch of Americans who just want to say 'thank you' for all of your service."
"It was the best steak I had in a very long time," said Ship Serviceman 1st Class Victor Angius. "I'm very grateful someone came all the way out here to do this for us."
Cape St. George concluded the celebration as it lit up the skies during the gunnery display, firing both of the ship's MK-45 lightweight 5-inch guns, one MK-15 Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), one 25mm chain gun and numerous M2 Browning .50 caliber guns and M240 machine guns.
"It was just another day at work," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Daniel Caraker, one of the M240 machine gun shooters. "We shoot almost every week, but this time we turned it up a notch. I hope the Sailors aboard Abe enjoyed it."
Cape St. George is deployed as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, which includes Lincoln, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. CSG-9 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.