USS VANDEGRIFT
Decommissioned (February 19, 2015)
Vandegrift Commemorates 239 Years of Navy Heritage
PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 16, 2014) - Engineman Fireman Recruit Jonathan Chum, left, and Capt. Tom Williams, aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), cut the Navy's 239th Birthday cake as part of a remembrance celebration onboard Vandegrift.  Vandegrift, on her last scheduled deployment prior to a planned decommission in March 2015, is currently on patrol within the 4th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cory Booth/released)
Vandegrift Commemorates 239 Years of Navy Heritage
U.S. Navy story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cory Booth
PACIFIC OCEAN – Sailors, aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift, took time, on the Navy’s Birthday October 13, to honor the 239 years of heritage that comes with being a U.S. Navy Sailor.

In a ceremony on the mess decks, Sailors shared the history of the Navy and its accomplishments through stories and photographs, finishing up with ceremonial cake cutting.

“In order to chart our way ahead, it is important to look back at our history and remember those that have come before us,” said Cmdr. Daryl Robbin, executive officer onboard Vandegrift. “The heroic and selfless contributions of Sailors, both past and present, have helped to make our Navy the world’s premier Global Force for Good.”

With 239 years of sailing history, the U.S. Navy has persevered throughout battles and wars, rough seas and squalls, and anything else mother nature throws at it. Over those long years, the methods used by the Navy to fight have changed as well as the ships they sail.

“Sailors of years before had to make do with the bare essentials,” said Information System Technician Seaman Timothy Lord. “Even with the new computer systems and technology, the way Sailors work together, the way we fight, still reflects the values that have been taught to us in naval history. We will never forget who brought us to where we are today.”

Throughout time, the Sailor, a standing testament to honor and courage, has preserved the winds of time to stand tall and proud.

As a boatswain’s mate, the traditions and heritage in the rate have come from Sailors long past, said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Dennie Payne. The technology and safety practices have advanced but the years have not changed how a boatswain’s mate does their job. Sailors from years past have given us the tools and experience to do our job right.

As with years past, Sailors fight their fight at sea. They sacrifice months, sometimes years, amongst the waves to uphold for the cause of the Navy and the United States.

For the individual Sailor, being worlds away from family is just as challenging now as it was years prior. However, unlike the Sailors of yesteryear, the ability to communicate back home is one of the few luxuries those at sea still have.

“With advancing technology, it’s possible for me to keep in contact with my family back home,” said Chief Personnel Specialist Adrian Mallari. “Without a doubt, every time I hear from home it helps keep my head up and my mind in my job. Gone are the days of waiting for a mail helicopter or a port call to hear from loved ones. I’m blessed to live in a time when those I care for a just a click away.”

Today’s Sailor has the benefit of modern technology. Be it computers, telephones, or advances in safety, the modern Sailor has a different experience at sea than those who have came before them. Out at sea, however, can be just as dangerous and demanding as it was 239 years prior.

Vandegrift, alone at sea, may be a just another ship, but she’s also part of a great heritage spanning centuries. To her crew, she’s a place to call home. A place where the other Sailors onboard are more than just other Sailors, they are each other’s brother and sister who all look back to a heritage based on the sacrifices of their brethren.
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