Greatest Warship in the Universe: USS Constellation (CV by god 64).
In 2002, a book hit the stores, which is pretty much where you had to go buy a book in those days, with part of its title “Best Damn Ship in the Navy.” The author was Captain Abrashoff, and he had been CO of USS Benfold from ’97 to 2000. Benfold was an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. I was fortunate enough to serve on destroyers as an electronics technician and again as an ensign. I have a certain fondness for destroyers, even though, I occasionally admit, at times, they made me a mighty seasick puppy. I was also fortunate enough to hear Captain Abrashoff speak. Based on my experience on Connie, I was prepared to argue with the Captain about the “Best Damn Ship” business. But I found him to be a soft-spoken man of modest demeanor, not one you’d suspect of hyper exalting the character of his ship. And I was impressed with his talk. When it came to Q & A, I held my tongue. As far as I was concerned, he was entitled to his “Best Damn Ship.”
But what we had was The Greatest Warship in the Universe. We played ball on a whole nuther kind of ball field. We had the biggest baddest fire. It took eleven hours, but we put it out. When we got back in port, AIRPAC told me Connie really needed to deploy on time. “Can you do it?” “Admiral,” I said, “I don’t know, but if anybody can do it, the crew on Connie can.” We did workups for the battle group and airwing with 200 shipyard workers aboard. We deployed on time.
Captain Abrashoff had the best damn crew in the Navy.
But I was part of the greatest.
God bless you, shipmates. It was a heck of a thing we did together.