Wilmington will host Naval destroyer commissioning

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -  The City of Wilmington is one of three cities to host a Navy ship commissioning sometime in the fall of 2010.

City leaders made the official announcement Wednesday morning, and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo was excited to learn the USS Gravely will hold its commissioning ceremony in the Port City.  He says the vessel will help the local economy.

"It's going to boost hotel room nights," said Saffo.  "It's going to have people going out to restaurants.  There will be parties and events."

The mayor said hosting the commission will give Wilmington an extra boost, which "will be a tremendous thing."

The 510 ft. missile destroyer is named after the first African-American Navy Admiral, Samuel Lee Gravely Jr.

UNCW's Chief of Staff, Max Allen, said Gravely served as a naval public affairs officer and was a role model for other officers.

"He was our mentor," said Allen.  "He was someone we aspired to be."

According to a spokesperson for the Navy, the ceremony is tentatively scheduled for either September or October.  The vessel was christened in Pascagoula, Mississippi in May, 2009.

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