Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, the city of Spokane, Washington, sought to honor president Theodore Roosevelt’s “man behind the gun” and Washington Sailors, specifically Ensign John Robert Managhan. Ensign Managhan sacrificed his life in Samoa to save a fellow officer in 1899. Intended to be awarded based on ship’s performance in annual great-gun marksmanship target practice, the award criteria was expanded to encompass all turrets. Bearing the names of all winning ships, the trophy was designed to portray the Spirit of the Navy, symbolized by a feminine figure presenting a laurel wreath to Naval gunners whose targets are clutched by an American eagle. The trophy, valued at over four million dollars, is made of 400 ounces of silver and was donated by the city of Spokane to the Navy League.
Today, the Spokane Trophy is awarded annually to the Pacific Fleet surface ship deemed to have best demonstrated warfighting proficiency through its ability to sustain coordinated air, surface, and undersea warfare operations. When asked what this award means to SAMPSON, CDR Duke Ducommun, Commanding Officer, replied, “Being named the recipient of this award is a great honor. Our Sailors are proud of this accomplishment and the recognition of their hard work.”
In 2011, USS SAMPSON completed Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific’s pilot basic training phase in preparation for her 2012 deployment. A leader in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), SAMPSON successfully completed all phases of the ASW Qualification Program spanning more than 30 scenarios. SAMPSON’s Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) Team successfully recertified while also qualifying 15 new members on the team. SAMPSON’s Strike Warfare and Combat Systems teams were noted by the ATG as the “best we’ve seen on the waterfront.” SAMPSON’s Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) team recorded a score of 98% earning the James F Chezek Gunnery Award for 2010. SAMPSON carried this excellence forward in support of integrated training operations with both ABRAHAM LINCOLN and CARL VINSON Strike Groups. Recognizing her sustained superior performance, SAMPSON completed 2011 by winning her second Destroyer Squadron 23 “Battle E.”
In a ceremony held in San Diego on Tuesday October 23rd, SAMPSON was awarded a plaque to commemorate her recognition as the 2011 Spokane Trophy recipient. CWO4 (Ret) Bruce Rasche of the Spokane Navy League traveled to San Diego to present the plaque to CDR Ducommun and members of the crew in recognition of their achievement.