USS Ramage to Participate in 2016 Connecticut Maritime Heritage
Annual focus on Connecticut’s rich nautical history and traditions includes a major salute to the Navy tied to 100th anniversary of Sub Base
NEW LONDON, Conn. (Sept. 2, 2016) – USS Ramage, a U.S. Navy guided missle destroyer, and one of the largest surface warships ever to visit the city for a public event, will participate in the 2016 Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival Friday through Sunday, September 9-11, 2016.
Ramage will be docked at Fort Trumbull and will be available for public tours at the following times: Friday, Sept. 9, from noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 11, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors should have a photo ID. The festival organizers ask that visitors review the FAQ section on the tours.
Based in Norfolk, VA, USS Ramage is 505 feet in length and has a crew of 300 sailors and 22 officers. Ramage is one of the navy’s destroyers of the Arleight Burke Class. It has what the navy calls “significant warfighting capabilities” with a range of weaponry that includes the AEGIS Combat System and advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The ship, named after Vice Admiral Lawson P. “Red” Ramage, a highly decorated World War II submarine commander who won the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses and the Silver Star, for his exploits in the Pacific.
Vice Admiral Ramage had deep family ties to southeastern Connecticut. In the post-war years, while he commanded all submarine forces in the Atlantic, his headquarters was at the Submarine Base in Groton. Today, the headquarters building at the base is named after him.
The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival chairman, John S. Johnson, greeted the news warmly and welcomed both the ship and its crew to New London.
“We are honored to welcome USS Ramage to this year’s Festival, “ said Johnson. “It is particularly gratifying that the navy sent a ship named after one of the great heros of the submarine battles in the Pacific. The presence of a Navy surface ship of this magnitude will be a major attraction for festival goers.”
The 4th Annual Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival will be one of the last major events in Connecticut’s Submarine Century, the year-long celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States Naval Submarine Base in Groton.
Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith, who chairs the Connecticut Submarine Century Executive Committee, and is one of the honorary co-chairs of the festival, thanked the Navy for supporting the anniversary celebration that has been underway since last fall.
“We are pleased that the Navy would send such a significant vessel to the festival as we continue to observe the centennial of Submarine Base New London. I think those who tour her will be impressed and appreciative of the role she has played in defending our nation.”
The Festival kicks off on Friday September 9th with a parade of sail with schooners and other vessels, and a 3 p.m. Welcome Ceremony at City Pier, followed by a demonstration put on by the Silver Dolphins Drill Team. Following this at 5 p.m., the Navy Band Northeast will give a concert at the pier. (Bring your beach chairs and enjoy this renowned musial group.)
Before the Welcome Ceremony, the Navy will conduct graduation ceremonies at City Pier Plaza for its Weapons “A” School. It starts at 1:15 p.m. and the public is invited to attend this and all of the festival activities.
Saturday September 10th will features dockside visits of schooners, educational programs at Waterfront Park, whaleboat races, and the always popular New London Chowder Challenge. Among the schooners and other vessels coming to the event, the U.S. Coast Guard will have one of its cutters at City Pier for public viewing. In addition, on Saturday afternoon, the Festival will feature vessel visits, displays that highlight the many and interesting aspects of the Sub Base, and two musical presentations at City Pier.
The first, at 2:00 pm, singer/songwriter Tom Callinan will do his Songs of the Sea, an hour-long concert. Callinan, the state’s first official troubordor, will include his tribute to the sub base on its centennial.
At 4 p.m., the Brass Quintet from the U.S. Coast Guard Band will perform at the pier. They will present a top-taping mix of pop tunes and a stirring selection of patriotic music. Again, bring your beach chairs to enjoy the concert.
The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival will conclude on Sunday with a memorial marking the 15th anniversary of 9/11, featuring a flag retirement ceremony and tributes to first responders, military and law enforcement agencies.
The program has been organized by the Groton Area Chief Petty Officers Association and a group of Chief Selectees from the Submarine Base. As part of the ceremony, flowers donated by local florists will be given to a group of first responders who will be on the PATRICIA ANN to place in the water as a show of respect to those lost in the attacks.