The excitement of seeing a U.S. Navy ship for the first time is hard to put into words. Being stationed on one you lose the excitement over time, but still have a strong sense of pride in your job. That is why I love my job as a Public Affairs Officer. I am able to introduce people for the first time to everything that the Navy has to offer, including our outstanding people, and I really appreciate how lucky I am to witness their excitement.
I was fortunate enough to witness the grandson of President Franklin D. and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt visit the ship named after his grandparents. The USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) was in port Bahrain for a routine port visit, which allowed Mr. Delano Roosevelt, who works in the area, the opportunity to see this ship. The excitement that was on his face when he saw the ship for the first time, truly made me thankful for what I do and grateful I am able to serve my country every day.
I asked Mr. Roosevelt to write down his thoughts on seeing a ship named after his grandparents and what it meant to him.
It’s been hard to truly get my head around the day’s events that included the generosity of everyone’s time, coupled with how welcomed and at home we were made to feel on board the USS Roosevelt.
As the Captain and I were walking, I commented to him that I had some brief conversations with his crew, as they were accounting to me their ship’s responsibilities. I mentioned that, although I did not completely understand some of the technical aspects of their jobs, even though they explained everything so clearly, the one point that I understood and truly felt, was simply a thread of obvious and sincere passion from each and every one of them. This was a passion not only for their Ship, but also a passion for their mission and Country.
I also commented to the Captain that I believe that this does not happen by chance but grown and encouraged by the right leadership that embraces good personal character and doing the right thing. Of course, his response was something humble and to the effect of, it’s easy when you have people with these qualities already in them. (What a great guy!)
The highlight of the day was when we were directed to the Wardroom Mess and the Captain took me totally by surprise. Chief Warrant Officer James Smith was to receive his Surface Warfare Officer Pin. They made this wonderful fellow wait two days until we came on board so he might be pinned by a Roosevelt.
Needless to say, I was honored to receive these gifts, but I had a little surprise of my own for Captain Clark. I had been keeping a couple of Challenge Coins of my own for a special occasion, and this was it! I presented a Coin from FDR’s flag ship the USS Iowa, from July 4, 2012, after she was re-fitted and brought down to Los Angeles Harbor from the San Francisco Bay back to her new and permanent home for all to share in.
The day was something that my family and I will never forget. I have never felt so proud to be a Roosevelt and more importantly, an American.
-H. Delano Roosevelt