Veterans Day 2012 Salute

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words. I truly believe this saying when it comes to many photos that we look at each day. With Veterans Day approaching, I wanted to take some time to first thank all those who are serving, or have served in the branches of the United States military. I also would like to take a moment to post a couple of photo finds that I’ve come across during the past few months.

I first wanted to start with the US Navy, by which I’ve been very fascinated with since I was a child. In 2001, I had a rare opportunity to witness the commissioning of the USS Lassen (DDG 82), which is one of many guided missile destroyers that the Navy has in its fleet. The Lassen is currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, where it has been since 2005. Prior to 2005, the ship was stationed in San Diego, CA.

USS Lassen Commissioning in Tampa (2001)
The commissioning ceremony for the USS Lassen (DDG 82) in Tampa, FL (April 21, 2001). ~ Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

The above photo is of the commissioning ceremony that took place on April 21, 2001 in Tampa’s Channelside District. Back then, Channelside was just beginning its transformation from a largely industrial center into a livable urban complex. Although the cruise ship port was already in place during the 1990s (and the Florida Aquarium since its opening 1995), the residential boom in the district did not take full effect until around 2003.

Touring the USS Lassen definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, especially now that security has become so tight since the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. So it may be a very long time before I have another chance to be able to step aboard another active US Navy ship. Nonetheless, I enjoyed every moment of the ceremony and tour, including being able to see Tampa’s downtown skyline from the ship’s bridge.

Yes, I will say this right now, the USS Lassen is one of my favorite US Navy ships! 😀

However, there are many more ships that are in active service. Another guided missile destroyer that I like is the USS Ramage (DDG 61), which is currently stationed out of Norfolk, VA and was commissioned back in 1995 (the same year the Florida Aquarium opened). Although I have not had a chance to see this ship up-close, it is configured very similarly to the USS Lassen.

(1) A Change of Command takes place onboard the USS Ramage (DDG 61) ~ Photo taken by Ensign Jamison Fiebrandt, U.S. Navy. (Released)

The photo above is that of a Change of Command ceremony that took place in August of 2011 (and taken by a Navy officer by whom I know personally). In a way, Change of Commands are much like a change in the administration within a civilian company/corporation, or a school. Now I say this in the sense that the previous leader is leaving his or her post to be assigned to another base or unit, or perhaps he or she is retiring from the military altogether. With that, we have the knowledge and wisdom of that person leaving the unit. In some cases, the previous leader may have been in charge of the unit for several years. In other cases, the tenure may have been shorter (but usually about three to four years). We then have the new leader, who brings forth his or her visions for the unit and tries to continue to traditions left behind by his or her predecessor.

I have had an opportunity to witness a couple Change of Command ceremonies myself, mainly because I have relatives who have served in the military.

(2) The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) undergoing maintenance in Norfolk, VA (2005) ~ Photo taken by Airman Chris Valdez, U.S. Navy. (Released)

The photo above is that of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), one of the Navy’s awesome aircraft carriers. I’ve always been very fascinated with aircraft carriers and have had an opportunity to see the now retired USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) when it was stationed in Mayport, FL.

I’ve learned over the years that lots of things can happen on an aircraft carrier; many fighter jets taking off and landing (many times one after the other), sailors marching into unique formations, and even a college basketball game every now and then.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject of aircraft carriers, I want to give a huge KUDOS to the USS Enterprise, which recently returned to Norfolk, VA after spending roughly eight months out at sea for its final deployment. The ship was the US Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and will be officially decommissioned at the end of the year.

For more great photos of the US Navy in action, you can visit their official website or check out their Facebook Page.

Now, I cannot complete this post without mentioning the other branches of the US Military. However, there is so much out there that I just will not be able to cover, so I’ve posted some links where you can learn more about our military and view photos and videos of our military in action. I hope to update this post soon with a bit more on the other branches, but in the meantime, I wanted to make sure that I first post this prior to Veterans Day.


Because not all of the photos in this blog post are mine, I have listed their respective citations below. Citations are formatted in the MLA style thanks to

  1. Fiebrandt, Jamison. Cmdr. Kyle J. Colton, (center right) USS Ramage commanding officer, gives a tour of the ship to Mr. Demetris Eliades (center left), Cyprus’ minister of defense.. 2011. United States European CommandWeb. 6 Nov 2012. <;.
  2. Valdez, Chris. USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). 2005. US Department of DefenseWeb. 6 Nov 2012. <;.


HARTride 2012

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