TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A top-of-the-line warship arrived at the Port of Tampa Bay Monday morning.
Later in the week, it will be activated into the Navy Service through an event called a commissioning ceremony.
The community will have plenty of opportunities to see the USS Jack H. Lucas DDG 125 Warship ahead of Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony.
Port officials said they are honored for our area to be chosen.
“This destroyer will be the next generation of our nation’s really tip-of-the-spear vessel warship that will sail in harm’s way around the world but to promote peace for our nation,” Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson said.
Anderson compared preparations for the ship’s arrival to preparations for the Super Bowl.
It’s all hands on deck this week as thousands of people are expected to attend festivities.
“We commission Coast Guard cutters here; we support those commissioning, but the undertaking of a navy vessel is significantly larger,” Anderson said.
He also said a ship like this is typically named after a president, but this one is named after a marine legend.
It’s called “Indestructible” because that’s what Jack H. Lucas was.
At 17 years old, he became the youngest Medal of Honor recipient in the history of the United States Marine Corps for his service and bravery at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
“One of the worst battles of WWII in terms of loss of life for the United States and the Marine Corps,” Anderson said. “He jumped on two grenades to save his colleagues and he lived.”
Although medically retired, Lucas wanted to jump out of an airplane so he joined airborne. His parachute failed and he survived.
Another time, his wife tried hiring a hitman to kill him so she could take his benefits. He escaped death in that situation too.
Port officials said they look forward to sharing more about who Lucas was throughout this week.
Starting Tuesday, you can get a tour of the ship every day from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. leading up to Saturday’s commissioning. Tours are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Parking for the tours is available directly at the pier, located at Berth 150 3409 Causeway Blvd, Tampa, 33619.
You can also register here for free tickets to the commissioning.