PHILADELPHIA – A chief petty officer (CPO) from the guided missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) recently honored the ship’s namesake during a visit to her hometown of Philadelphia during the month of September.
Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kimberly Ford visited the historic USS Olympia (C-6), a museum ship now on display at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing, in her hometown.
Olympia is the oldest steel warship still afloat and the only surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War. The vessel served as the flagship for Commodore George Dewey’s squadron at the historic Battle of Manila Bay.
It was on May 1, 1889 on board Olympia during that battle, when Dewey delivered his timeless order of “You may fire when ready” to Capt. Charles Gridley.
She said she originally visited the museum ship in order to tour it. However, as Olympia was closed for painting and renovation, she volunteered to lend a hand.
Ford said her motivation to establish connections with Olympia is a combination of pride in the Navy, her ship, and her hometown.
After contributing to the ongoing preservation efforts and receiving a tour of this national landmark, Ford said she recognized the importance of continued communication and cooperation between Gridley and Olympia.
She said she plans to continue supporting the preservation of the historic warship by coordinating donations from the Gridley and USS Dewey (DDG 105) CPO messes.