Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

Destroyer named for POW christened

May 11, 2008

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— The Navy's newest guided missile destroyer was christened Saturday in Bath, Maine, with the name of a fighter pilot who spent 7 1/2 years in captivity in North Vietnam, received the Medal of Honor and served as presidential candidate Ross Perot's running mate.

Four Medal of Honor recipients and seven former prisoners of war attended the ceremony at Bath Iron Works that marked a milestone in construction of the 9,200-ton ship named for Vice Adm. James Stockdale.

Stockdale's widow, Sybil, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and uses a wheelchair, let loose a champagne bottle propelled by a rope that swung across the Stockdale's bow. On the second try, the bottle exploded, the band broke into "Anchors Aweigh" and red, white and blue streamers filled the air.

Stockdale, who died nearly three years ago at age 81, flew 201 carrier-based missions before being shot down in 1965, becoming the highest-ranking naval officer captured during the war.

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