Kansas University alumni are all over the world doing all kinds of things — right now there is one in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean at the helm of a brand new Navy ship.
I wrote about U.S. Navy Capt. Sean Bailey in 2013, after he was named executive officer of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2016. Bailey is now Commanding Officer of the USS Arlington, which set sail last week for its maiden deployment.
The following day Bailey reported on the ship’s Facebook page that he and the crew were safely underway.
“This is both a challenging and difficult time as we adjust to the separation from our loved ones and settle into the pace of deployed operations,” Bailey wrote. “As a ship and crew, we are ready and I know that our families are well prepared and well cared for back home. Please remember that you will remain in our thoughts and prayers and we look forward to seeing you all again when we return home.”
Bailey, who grew up in Lansing, attended KU on a Navy ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1990 with a degree in political science.
The USS Arlington is an amphibious transport dock ship with nearly 1,200 Sailors and Marines, according to a Navy news release. The ship embarked Oct. 6 from Naval Station Norfolk (Va.) and, according to the release, will conduct operations “as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.”
From construction to building a crew to training, getting a new ship on the water is a long process, so last week was a very big deal for the USS Arlington. Construction on the Arlington began in 2007 and its commissioning was in 2013. Bailey called the deployment the culmination of hard work getting the ship and crew ready.
"We will be exercising all of the skills that we have practiced and refined during this last year of training,” he said in the Navy news release, “and my expectation is that Arlington's maiden deployment will be both a mission success as well as professionally and personally rewarding for its crew."
The USS Arlington’s name may sound familiar even though it’s new. This ship, USS Arlington (LPD 24), is the third with the same name. According to information from the ship’s christening ceremony program, the first Arlington was commissioned in 1944 and served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. The second, renamed from USS Saipan to USS Arlington in 1965, earned seven campaign stars for service in Vietnam and also assisted in recovering space crews from NASA’s Apollo 8 and Apollo 10 missions.
• Big boost for works on paper at Spencer Museum of Art: KU recently announced that its Spencer Museum of Art received a $147,129 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant will enable the Spencer to reorganize and rehouse its prints, drawings, photographs and other works on paper — the collection numbers more than 20,000 works — within an expanded storage area being created as part of the museum's Phase I renovation project.
Works on paper are sensitive to light and humidity, so the time they can be up on a wall on display is limited and the importance of proper storage is high. In case you didn't know, the Spencer's Print Room does make works available to view upon request, which is pretty great — I can tell you firsthand there's absolutely no digital or textbook substitute for seeing, say, a minutely detailed Albrecht Dürer engraving (the Spencer has dozens) up close and personal.
The new grant is through a program aimed at strengthening the ability of museums to serve the public, according to KU. Money will be used to hire a full-time collection assistant and purchase storage supplies, increasing the safety of the artwork and facilitating greater access to the already heavily used Print Room.
• Langston Hughes prof lecture: Mental health, youth and racial disparities? This lecture sounds interesting. Omar Gudiño, Langston Hughes visiting professor at Kansas University, will present “Understanding and Eliminating Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Youth Mental Health Service Use” at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Commons in Spooner Hall. Read more about Gudiño and his program here.
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If you like glimpses into KU's history (and who doesn't?), you might keep an eye on the Spencer Museum of Art Twitter feed today.
The museum opened 35 years ago today, and it's promising to share photos from its history throughout the day via a medium that, back then, would have surely seemed quite incomprehensible: Twitter. It started with the poster advertising its Jan. 17, 1978, grand opening.
It's also inviting museum visitors past and present to share their Spencer memories, using the hashtag #SMA35.
So, send your art-gazing memories there. And send your KU news tips here: firstname.lastname@example.org.