NEW YORK CITY—The Commissioning Ceremony of the USS Cooperstown in New York City on Saturday, May 6 brought together many people. It was estimated that about 1,000 attended the ceremony, with roughly 300 in the VIP seating at the front of the stage. Attendees ranged from the Secretary of the Navy and the New York State governor to the ship’s crew and their families.
One of those attending the commissioning was Bill Waller, husband to former Cooperstown Mayor Carol Waller. Bill attended as a guest of one of the members of the Cooperstown Board of Trustees. Board of Trustee members received invitations to the breakfast, ceremony and luncheon.
Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, speaks during the Commissioning Ceremony of the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Cooperstown (LCS 23) in New York City. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kevin C. Leitner)
With the exhortation “Man Our Ship and Bring Her to Life,” and to the cheers and applause of her crew, Alba Tull commissioned the vessel Cooperstown into the fleet of the United States Navy last Saturday. This introduction by her sponsor means the ship is now official and permitted to carry the title of USS Cooperstown.
At 11:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, the USS Cooperstown, colloquially christened as “America’s Away Team,” joined the approximately 495 ships that comprise the U.S Navy’s active and reserve fleet. She continues the tradition of vessels such as the USS Constitution, which went through the ceremony on October 1, 1797 and has retained her commission to this day.
I was fortunate to be invited by a member of the Cooperstown Board of Trustees to the Commissioning Ceremony for the USS Cooperstown. We drove to New York City Friday in order to attend the early-morning breakfast hosted by the New York Council of the Navy League.
The breakfast was attended by a wide variety of people: various boatbuilding officials, elected officials, New York Navy League members, family members of crew and numerous white-uniformed Navy personnel. Admirals and aides with cords festooned on their shoulders were available to anyone that wanted to talk.
As Cooperstown rep-resents the best of Americana, it also represents the best of baseball,” Jane Forbes Clark noted in her address that accompanied the christening of the USS Cooperstown in February 2022. And she continued, “Baseball is our national pastime, and the connections between our Hall of Famers and our military are strong.” Thus it is that the USS Cooperstown represents both the village and the wartime heroes enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Although that connection with military service is not often a part of the conversation when one is talking about Hall of Famers, it is not forgotten in the Hall of Plaques, which memorializes each player’s important stats. Below the plaque of every player who served in the military is a small medallion commemorating the particular military branch in which he served. There is an insignia for the Army, the Navy, the Marines, and even for service in the Civil War. The one veteran of that conflict is The Hon. Morgan G. Bulkeley, who subsequently became the first president of the National League.
The saga of the joint venture between the United States Navy and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum began on July 26, 2015 in Doubleday Field. Then Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus floated the idea to Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the NBHoF Board of Directors, of naming one of the recently established littoral class of fighting ships the USS Cooperstown. Ships are often named after states and cities, but in this case the name would also stand in honor of the baseball heroes enshrined in the Hall of Fame who were war heroes who served in the U.S. military.
COOPERSTOWN—Around 60 family and friends gathered at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum last weekend for a promotion ceremony to honor Lieutenant Colonel E. Albert Eckart III. “Albert is like a part of the Grady family,” Pati Grady of Cooperstown said. “He’s always loved baseball and he visits us a lot.” So much so that Josh Rawitch, NBHoF president, offered to have the pinning ceremony in the Hall. “We are incredibly proud of Albert,” Grady said. Above, Eckart (left) is joined by Rawitch and Colonel (Retired) Matthew Keurejian.
Editor’s Note: This press release arrived Monday, Dec. 14, from Lockheed Martin Corp. spokesman Kate Scruggs.
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 23, the future USS Cooperstown, completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan. Trials included a full-power run, maneuverability testing, and surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations of the ship’s combat system. Major systems and features were demonstrated, including aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery and machinery control and automation.
Now that trials are complete, the ship will undergo final outfitting and fine-tuning before delivery to the U.S. Navy next year. LCS 23 is the 12th Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team.
“LCS 23, like other Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships, delivers unique flexibility and capability to the U.S. Navy,” said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, Small Combatants and Ship Systems.
“Freedom-variant LCS are inherently capable, and they offer 40-percent reconfigurable hull space to evolve to future U.S. Navy missions.
“During acceptance trials, LCS 23 proved its maneuverability, automation and core combat capability.”
Unique among combat ships, the focused-mission LCS is designed to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions and is easily adapted to serve future and evolving missions.
COOPERSTOWN – The Navy is planning a keel-laying ceremony for the USS Cooperstown this Tuesday in Marinette, Wisc., and Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh is planning to attend on behalf of her constituents.
The keel is the first part of a ship put in place, and the mayor will serve as “keel authenticator,” lowering the first module into place on the building dock. (Assembling of the modules can occur over several month before the assembly of the ship begins.)