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USS Bataan Celebrates 10th Birthday

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071002-23
Release Date: 10/2/2007 6:28:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Brian Anderson, USS Bataan Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) celebrated her 10th birthday during a ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Sept. 28.

Survivors of the Bataan death march and Corregidor conflict, crew members of the original USS Bataan (CVL 29), a former commanding officer of LHD-5, and present Bataan Sailors, celebrated the milestone of 10 years of service.

“We’re here to reflect on history and heritage,” said Bataan’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Richard Snyder. “To reflect on the sacrifices of those who have gone before us and realize history will go on forever. We want to recognize both the 10 years that this great ship has had, and also to honor the history that has gone before us so we can keep our heritage alive.”

The guest speakers included former World War II prisoner of war retired Chief Electrician's Mate Marion “Turk” Turner, CVL-29 crew member retired Chief Boatswain's Mate Clarence “Clancy” Decker, Bataan's Executive Officer, Cmdr. Mark Scovill, Command Master Chief James A. Tubbs and Snyder, who emphasized Bataan is more than a name, it’s a tradition.

“If you go back to where the Bataan name came from, it was a story of sacrifice, courage, commitment, dedication, and a willingness to work together to see through a tough time, that is the embodiment of the Bataan name,” Snyder said.

Turner reflected on his days spent as a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp. “Never give up hope,” said Turner.

For 1,294 days, Turner had to fight and steal to survive, and he never gave up.

“I don’t know how many beatings I took, but they never knocked me down because they would kick you when you were down, and I never let that happen,” said Tuner.

Though CVL-29 and LHD-5 differ in many ways, there are similarities in the strong and steadfast name of Bataan.

“If you look at the name, it’s associated with times of trouble,” Snyder said. “When help is needed and a country’s very existence was on the line, the Bataan name always seems to pop up and help.”

Both ships also share similarities in service schedules.

“Compare the schedules of CVL-29 and the last decade of LHD-5 and you’ll see they are similar,” Snyder said. “If the old Bataan wasn’t at home getting fixed, she was at sea, not only at sea, but at war and we carry right along with that. Bataan (LHD 5) is the same thing. This ship has not spent a lot of time idle in port. This ship has participated in everything from the [global] war on terror[ism] to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.”

To link past and current generations, the birthday celebration included a cake-cutting ceremony by the oldest Sailor and Bataan's youngest Sailor, Engineman Fire Apprentice Luis Leiva.

“Listening to the stories gives me a different meaning for what I do today,” Leiva said. “It’s amazing what they went through, and I am honored to shake their hand.”

As far as the next 10 years, Bataan expects to continue its strong role in history.

“We live in very uncertain times,” Snyder said. “As important as Bataan is to our country and to our Navy, I think we will be called to action again and again, either in war or other support. We will stay on the cutting edge of our Navy and be there to answer the nation’s call.”

Bataan is the fifth ship of the Navy’s Wasp-class ships. She was commissioned Sept. 20, 1997, and is the second U.S. Navy warship to bear the name. CVL-29 was an Independence-class small aircraft carrier that was commissioned in November 1943. After serving in both World War II and the Korean conflict, CVL-29 was decommissioned in 1954.


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