USS MASON DDG 87
The Mason (DDG 87) is the 37th Arleigh Burke-class gided-missile destroyer and the 9th of the Flight IIA variant. The ship was named for the two men: John Young Mason, born April 19, 1799, in Greene County, Virginia. Both a political leader and diplomat, he was Secretary of the Navy for Presidents John Tyler and James K. Polk and Distinguished Flying Cross Winner Ensign Newton Henry Mason who died in aerial combat during World War II in Battle of the Coral Sea, May 9, 1942. But, the ship also inherits the legacy of the previous USS Mason (DE 529), the first Navy ship with a predominately African-American crew. This was the first time that black Americans were permitted to be trained and serve in Navy career fields other than cooks and stewards. One hundred sixty black Sailors were enrolled in all fields of operational and technical training, and manned the ship at commissioning.
The keel was laid down on January 19, 2000, at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine; The ship was launched and christened on June 23, 2001; The Honorable Olimpia J. Snowe, U.S. Senator for the State of Maine, served as sponsor of the ship. Cmdr. David J. Gale is the prospective commanding officer.
October 21, 2002 The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mason underway for the first time to cunduct a combined three-day Alpha/Bravo Builder's trials. The ship was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Nov. 22.
March 7, 2003 The guided-missile destroyer departed Bath, Maine, for a transit to Norfolk, Va. Port call to Boston, Mass., from March 10-13.
March 14, PCU Mason arrived at Naval Station Newport, R.I., for a three-day port visit to conduct school ship training with the Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS). Port call to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., from March 24-31.
April 12, USS Mason was commissioned during a ceremony at Port Canaveral, Fla. Underway on 14th after a 10-day port call.
April 18, The Mason arrived at its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk for the first time.
April 21, DDG 87 moored at Nauticus Pier in downtown Norfolk for a week-long visit in conjuction with the Azarea Festival. Underway for routine training from May 5-10 in the Virginia Capes OPAREA; Underway again on May 23.
June 5, USS Mason arrived in New York City for a three-day port visit. Underway for routine training from June 16-19; Ammo onload at NWS Yorktown from June 30- July 2; Underway for Combat Systems Ship's Qualifications Trials on July 7; Port call to Port Canaveral from July 30- Aug. 4 in preparation for ASW portion of CSSQT; Port calls to Naval Station Mayport from Aug. 15-19, 20-21 and 22-25th; Ammo offload at Yorktown from Aug. 27-29.
September 16, The Mason emergency sortied from Norfolk to avoid the Hurricane Isabel.
September 22, USS Mason entered the Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Corporation (NORSHIPCO) for a three-month Post Shakedown Availability (PSA). In dry-dock from Oct. 1-21; Returned to Naval Station Norfolk on Dec. 17.
From January 12-15, 2004, the guided-missile destroyer was underway for routine training in the VACAPES Op. Area. Underway again on Feb. 20; Moored to Nauticus Pier on 24th fora three-day visit.
March 1, USS Mason departed homeport for an 18-day underway to conduct routine training. Port call to Naval Station Mayport from March 5-9; Underway for Group Sail operations from April 5-30.
May 10, DDG 87 departed Norfolk for a two-day Tiger Cruise to Mayport, Fla. Underway on May 13 to conduct ASW System Qualification Trial at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) range off Andros Island, Bahamas; Returned home on May 20.
May 21, Cmdr. Eugene H. Black, III relieved Cmdr. David J. Gale as CO of the Mason during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship.
June 4, USS Mason departed Norfolk to participate in Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group; and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), with the John F. Kennedy (CV 67) CSG, as part of opposition forces.
July 1, The guided-missile destroyer anchored off Bizerte to embark Tunisian naval officers for Operation Mini-Nador.
July 5, USS Mason arrived in Tarragona, Spain, for a four-day port visit. Participated in a multinational exercise Majestic Eagle, off the coast of Morocco, July 12-15; Returned home on July 25; Magnetic deperming at Lambert Point from Aug. 23-27; Underway for routine testing from Sept. 21-23; Ammo onload at NWS Yorktown from Sept. 27-30.
October 13, USS Mason departed Naval Station Norfolk, for its maiden deployment, with the Truman CSG, in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Sea Dragon II.
October 22, The Mason pulled into HMNB Clyde in Faslane, Scotland, for a two-day port call before participating in a British Royal Navy joint and combined warfare training exercise Joint Maritime Course (JMC) 04-3, Oct. 24-30. Port call to Rota, Spain, from Nov. 3-6; Transited Suez Canal on Nov. 12.
December 1, DDG 87 arrived in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emerates, for a four-day port visit. Port call to Manama, Bahrain, from Dec. 23-27.
April 18, 2005 USS Mason returned to homeport after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet AoR, conducting Maritime Interdiction Operations (MSO).
January 13, 2006 Cmdr. John V. Fuller relieved Cmdr. Eugene H. Black, III as the 3rd commanding officer of the Mason.
March 2, The guided-missile destroyer is currently off the East Coast for routine training, as part of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) CSG, in preparation for the upcoming deployment later this year.
April 12, DDG 87 departed Norfolk for a four-week Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
May 24, USS Mason arrived in New York City to participate in 19th Navy Fleet Week through May 30. Fleet Week has been sponsored by New York City since 1984 in celebration of the United States sea service.
October 3, USS Mason departed Naval Station Norfolk for a six-month deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
November 7, The guided-missile destroyer entered the Arabian Gulf and joined with Combined Task Force (CTF) 152, currently led by Italian Navy Rear Adm. Emilio Foltzer.
May 23, 2007 USS Mason returned to homeport after seven-and-a-half month underway period. The ship participated in a bilateral exercise Neon Falcon between the United States and Royal Bahraini navies.
March 29, 2008 DDG 87 is currently off the coast of Florida, participating in Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA), as part of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) CSG.
September 12, USS Mason, commanded by Cmdr. Robert E. Clark, departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment with the TR Carrier Strike Group.
October 1, The Mason pulled into Batumi to take officers of Georgian navy and coast guard on board and will continue sailing in the neutral waters of the Black Sea.
October 15, The guided-missile destroyer departed Istanbul, Turkey, after a three-day port visit.
February 6, 2009 Sailors from USS Mason went aboard Motor Vessel Faina to conduct a health and comfort inspection of the crew as well as provide Faina's crew with food, water and medical support. The U.S. Navy fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) also provided fuel and fresh water to the merchant vessel. Faina is currently anchored off the coast of Somalia, near Hobyo, and is making engineering preparations to get underway. Somali pirates released the Belize-flagged roll-on/roll-off ship Feb. 5, after holding it for more than four months.
April 18, USS Mason returned to homeport after a seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AoR).
October 10, 2010 USS Mason is currently participating in a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), as part of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group.
January 13, 2011 USS Mason departed Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled deployment.
January 30, The guided-missile destroyer departed Palma de Mallorca, Spain, after a three-day port visit.
March 15, Cmdr. Adan G. Cruz relieved Cmdr. Kevin M. Robinson as CO of the Mason during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship while inport Haifa, Isreal.
June 30, Capt. James Gilmour relieved Rear Adm. Harris Chan Weng Yip as Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, during a change-of-command ceremony on board the USS Mason in Djibouti. This the first time that a Royal New Zealand naval officer has commanded a major multinational task force in recent decades.
July 9, The guided-missile destroyer arrived in Bodrum, Turkey, for a three-day port call.
July 27, USS Mason returned to Norfolk after six-and-a-half month deployment.
August 25, The Mason emergency sortied from Naval Station Norfolk to avoid the approaching Category 3 Hurricane Irene.
October 7, DDG 87 recently arrived in Mobile, Ala., for a scheduled port visit in conjuction with the BayFest.
January 30, 2012 USS Mason, along with USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), entered the Titan dry-dock at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair facility for repairs and modernization as part of the DDG Modernization (DDG MOD) upgrade. This was the first ever tandem dry-docking of two U.S. Navy Aegis guided-missile destroyers. The Titan is the largest floating dry-dock on the East Coast, measuring 950 feet long and 160 feet wide, with a lift capacity of 52,000 tons; Completed sea trials in mid-June.
August 3, Cmdr. D. Wilson Marks relieved Cmdr. Adan G. Cruz as CO of the USS Mason during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Norfolk.