U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz called the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) "an indispensable force for peace and freedom in the world" during commissioning ceremonies Saturday, December 8, 2001, near the World Trade Center site. The advanced Aegis guided missile destroyer
is the 34th ship of the DDG 51 program and the 15th to be built by Northrop Grumman Corporation's Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Miss.
"USS Bulkeley deploys the most advanced weapon systems afloat today. She also demonstrates the power that only a free nation can generate. It is a privilege for all of us to be here for the commissioning of a ship that is a product of the great partnership between government and industry that is crucial to the defense of our country and peace and freedom in the world," Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz delivered the principal commissioning address "in the shadow of Lady Liberty, and within walking distance of 'Ground Zero.'" A standing-room-only gathering of more than 6,000 witnessed the patriotic pier-side ceremony adjacent to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. DDG 84 is named in honor of native New Yorker Vice Adm. John D. Bulkeley, USN, (1911-1996), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who spearheaded the evacuation of General Douglas MacArthur from the island of Corregidor in World War II and later served as President of the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.
"When a ship is named, the name is never chosen lightly," Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz continued. "The name forms the heart of the ship's identity. This ship bears the name of a man whose service over the course of an incredible 54 years in the U.S. Navy displayed the same traits of character that define this city, which was his home town. John Duncan Bulkeley was a true New Yorker and displayed the characteristics of this city -- caring, innovative and tough. There's no more fitting place to commission this ship."
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani noted, "Many of the great ship
s of the 20th century sailed the waters of New York harbor ... and today, one of the great ships of the 21st century begins that same voyage. Like each of the Navy ships that
sailed this harbor before her, USS Bulkeley sails to protect
our way of life and our foundation of liberty and justice.
"We've all learned that our nation's civic pillars of liberty, justice and unity need to be aggressively protected," Mayor Giuliani said. "I know that the men and women of USS BULKELEY are prepared to assume that responsibility and meet all challenges with courage, strength and honor."
U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella of New York's 13th Congressional District called DDG 84 "a floating marvel of American ingenuity and technological superiority ... her systems are state-of-the-art, and her crew is the best America could ask for. Today, they assume their place in the long line of heroes defending democracy and the American way of life."
"One day after the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
, we look to new heroes to inspire us in the war against terrorism," said Secretary of the Navy Gordon England. "Fortunately, for our nation, this crew of BULKELEY has 300 new heroes in the making that will bring this ship to life."
At the pinnacle of Saturday's commissioning, USS BULKELEY's five Ship's Sponsors ordered DDG 84's more than 300 officers and enlisted personnel to their posts, giving the traditional order to "Man this ship and bring her to life!" The sponsors include three daughters of Vice Adm. Bulkeley: Joan
Bulkeley Stade, of Oak Brook, Ill.; Regina Bulkeley Day, of York, Neb.; Diana Bulkeley Lindsay, of Olney, Md.; one daughter in-law, Carol A. Bulkeley, of Virginia Beach, Va.; and Sarah C. Fargo, wife of Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.