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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT)
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Adm. Daryl Caudle
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
07 October 2023
Thank you, Matt for that introduction.
Good morning Tampa and the crew of the USS JACK H LUCAS – What a beautiful and hot, great Navy day. It is my honor and privilege to be here today to join you for the Commissioning of this powerful warship.
I would like to welcome and give my sincere thanks to several very important people joining us here today:
our Ship Sponsors – Mrs. Ruby Lucas and Mrs. Cathy Reynolds;
Mr. Louis Lucas and to all of the Lucas Family here today;
To our Matrons of Honor;
Congresswoman Castor, Congresswoman Lee, and Congresswoman Luna (13
), a lot of congresswomen!
Mayor Castor (Tampa);
Under Secretary of the Navy Raven;
Mayor Roth (Plymouth, NC)
Colonel Barnum, thank you, Sir. You honor us;
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ruiz, thank you for what you said, it was really meaningful;
The Commissioning Committee, State of Florida Officials and Representatives, fellow flag and general officers, distinguished guests, Ms. Wilkinson and our partners in industry … family, friends, and shipmates. Man, what a group.
Thank you all for being here on this momentous occasion – even more evidence of the special bond that the Navy has with the state of Florida – and proof that Tampa is a military city, supporting our Joint Forces from Central Command and Special Operations Command – your presence and enthusiasm for the military defines our extraordinary camaraderie, our teamwork and our special relationship.
Now, for the crew, what you are doing in your preparation and execution has been nothing short of amazing – truly remarkable and unprecedented. For those who don’t know, new construction ships typically are allotted around 120 days to accomplish a series of certifications in preparation for leaving the shipbuilding facility and being introduced to the Fleet.
The “All Americans” onboard JACK H LUCAS signed for the ship on 6 July, immediately began Damage Control Certifications and a quick 77 days later completed 100% of the Crew Certification and Sail Away requirements, achieving a 98% on their Light Off Assessment, the highest score observed by any New Construction ship in over five years.
And for any of those that have been through that, they’re not giving that away.
CAPT Brett Oster, Commanding Officer, had one mission: Keep “Jack on Track.’
Brett, your team answered the call every step of the way. With every challenge came a victory. One and done. Great work Captain – your leadership has made all the difference!
My charge to you and your team is to keep that tenacity, that toughness and grit going because the challenges will keep coming. It will be hard, but I know you and 330 of the Navy’s finest Sailors are the team to do it.
Your namesake, 17-year-old Medal of Honor winner Jack H. Lucas, carried that same fiery passion with him throughout World War II and later passed it on while training young Army Soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who would go to fight in other conflicts, like Vietnam.
Your job is to make this ship as indestructible as her namesake, and to sail it as boldly as the tin can Sailors of World War II. When Admiral Burke christened the first ship of this proud class of destroyers, the USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG 51), on July 4th, 1991, he said this, “May this ship do her duty for many years and may she have good luck in all her endeavors.”
That same ship has been in service for over 32 years, still operating forward deployed in our European theater of operations today.
As the first Flight III, your ship will not only be the most capable surface combatant ever built with the SPY-6 Radar, the Aegis Baseline 10 combat system, and a new electric plant integrated seamlessly into an already highly capable platform, you will start your proud journey today, which will last well into the 2060s and beyond.
Such an evolution from DDG-51 would be impossible without the shipbuilders of Huntington Ingalls Industries and the Pascagoula community. The Flight III represents the dedication and the commitment of our Sailors, our shipbuilders, our designers and engineers who leverage, enable, and multiply the skill and innovation of our shipyards and industry partners to deliver with the commitment and promise to the American people that JACK H LUCAS will sail proudly to keep the seas free and open for all.
As Secretary Carlos del Toro recently said as he called for a New Maritime Statecraft, “We should leverage the tremendous advantages we uniquely enjoy in innovation and technology, particularly in the maritime domain.”
Well team, this fine warship is the lethal and demonstrative manifestation of the Secretary’s words.
It is now up to the 330 Sailors, the fearless warriors before me to make this piece of metal of almost 10,000 tons, the hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable and piping systems, into a combat ship designed to decisively win our nation’s wars.
For the team onboard USS JACK H. LUCAS (DDG-125), I know you can do it – and I thank you for your service. May God bless our country. May God bless all of you, your families, and the many voyages and victories to come. Thank you.
And now I would like to introduce our Keynote Speaker, a true friend and mentor of mine, the 34
Under Secretary of the Navy – the Honorable Erik Raven.
Under Secretary Raven previously served as the Majority Clerk of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee where he managed a budget of over $700 Billion in annual spending spanning Defense and Intelligence portfolios, now serving as the Navy’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Management Officer as well as the Principal Advisor to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.
Please join me in welcoming, the Honorable Erik Raven!
USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125)
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