US Naval warship tours begin this week in Tampa Bay

This morning, a top-of-the-line warship arrived in the shores of Tampa Bay. This will be activated into the Navy Service later this week during a process known as a commissioning ceremony.

The public will have numerous opportunities to view the USS Jack H. Lucas DDG 125 Warship prior to Saturday’s 10 a.m. departure ceremony.

The commissioning ceremony is one of the most significant milestones in the life of a U.S. Navy ship and includes a weeklong event of festivities for the ship’s crew, the U.S. Navy, and the Tampa Bay community.

  • Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 – The USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) arrives at Port Tampa Bay, berth 150.
  • Tuesday – Friday, Oct. 3-6, 2023 – Tours of the ship are available to the public from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 through Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. Tours are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Participants on the tours are required to bring a valid U.S. ID and no bags or weapons are allowed.
  • Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023 – The Tampa Bay Lightning will host members of the Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) during their pre-season game against the Florida Panthers. The Lightning will host a special ceremony recognizing the service members in attendance.
  • Friday, Oct. 6, 2023 – Jack H. Lucas pride night at Hillsborough County Schools. On Friday, Oct. 5 every Hillsborough County Public Schools football player will honor the legacy of Jack H. Lucas by wearing a decal of the ship’s crest on their helmets. Additionally, leaders from the ship will be recognized in a halftime presentation at Plant High School during their game against Jefferson High School.
  • Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023 – Official commissioning date of the USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125). The event begins at 10 a.m. Tickets are free but are required in advance.

Port officials expressed their gratitude for our area’s selection.

“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,” said Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson.

Anderson likened the preparations for the ship’s arrival to those for the Super Bowl, as thousands of people are anticipated to join the celebrations this week.

“We commission Coast Guard cutters here; we support those commissioning, but the undertaking of a navy vessel is significantly larger,” Anderson stated.

He further stated that whereas most ships of this type are named after presidents, this one is named after a nautical legend.

It is dubbed “indestructible” because Jack H. Lucas was.

He was the youngest Medal of Honor recipient in the history of the United States Marine Corps when he received it at the age of 17 for his service and valour during 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,” remarked Anderson. “He jumped on two grenades to save his colleagues and he lived.”

Lucas, despite being medically retired, wanted to jump out of an airplane, so he joined airborne. His parachute malfunctioned, but he lived.

Another time, his wife attempted to hire a hitman to murder him so she could collect his benefits. He also evaded death in the situation.

Port officials say they are looking forward to learning more about Lucas this week. Beginning on Tuesday, you can take a tour of the ship every day from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. until Saturday’s commissioning.

The tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Register here for free commissioning tickets.

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