INDIAN OCEAN – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the ship’s commissioning, April 13.
Originally commissioned on April 18, 2009, Stockdale Sailors celebrated the anniversary with an all-day event that included a steel beach picnic, cake-cutting ceremony, ice cream social and movie under the stars on the flight deck.
A decade of commission can be an important milestone for a ship, one that the Stockdale’s first commanding officer, Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, envisioned when he took command.
“On USS Stockdale, we were blessed with an amazing first crew and inspired by the spirit of one of our Navy’s great heroes, Adm. James B. Stockdale,” said Kacher. “When we defined success for the crew, we did not talk about succeeding in terms of the ship’s first year or even the ship’s first deployment, but setting the tone for the ship’s first decade. It has been a thrill to see how the commanding officers and crews that followed have excelled on this extraordinary warship.”
The event provided Sailors an opportunity to celebrate the ship and the legacy of previous Stockdale Sailors.
“We not only celebrate our tough namesake hero, Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale, but also the thousands of Sailors who have manned Stockdale in the last ten years,” said Cmdr. Leonard Leos, Stockdale commanding officer. “Their culture of excellence ensured Stockdale was ready to 'deter, assure, compete, and win' in the Indo-Pacific, now, and for many years to come. Stockdale Sailors have kept this beautiful ship fit to fight and ready to support America's foreign policy abroad.”
The celebration also allowed Sailors to reflect on the namesake, Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale.
“An anniversary like this allows us to remember the life of Vice Adm. Stockdale,” said Lt. Jacob Pilarski, Stockdale’s information warfare officer, from Buffalo, New York. “It provides us all a reason to [proudly wear] that we served aboard DDG 106 and extend our respect and knowledge Navy-wide.”
The Stockdale is the first ship to be named in honor of Vice Adm. Stockdale.
At the age of 40, Stockdale was captured as a prisoner of war (POW) during the Vietnam War, according to the Department of Defense. He spent the next seven years as the highest-ranking officer and leader of the American resistance in Hao Lo Prison, otherwise known as the “Hanoi Hilton”. Throughout his years of imprisonment, Stockdale stayed strong and stood by his values. He went on to become one of the most highly decorated officers in the Navy, with 26 personal combat decorations, two distinguished flying crosses, three distinguished service medals, two Purple Hearts, four silver star medals and the Medal of Honor.
Stockdale was christened in May 2006 by the ship’s sponsor, Sybil Stockdale, the wife of the ship's namesake.
Since her commissioning in 2009 at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, the Stockdale has successfully completed three deployments in the 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet, in addition to her current deployment.
The Stockdale is the 56th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently, as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups.
The Stockdale is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet are of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.