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Living the Legacy of Admiral Raymond Spruance

Editor’s note: Cmdr. Manny Hernandez, commanding officer of the USS Spruance (DDG 111), delivered the following address to his crew in the spirit of commemorating the Battle of Midway, which occurred 74 years ago this week. USS Spruance is deployed in the Pacific as part of the Pacific Surface Action Group (PACSAG), during which the U.S. 3rd Fleet commander will maintain operational control for the entirety of the PACSAG deployment as part of a new Pacific Fleet initiative called THIRD Fleet Forward. The post begins with a video the namesake’s crew put together to honor the core attributes of toughness, integrity, accountability and initiative of those who came before.

 

74 years ago, on the very waters through which we now sail, the Battle of Midway raged. Here, thousands of men fought and died as the tide of World War II, and history itself, began to turn. This morning, as we sail with humble confidence through this hallowed stretch of sea, let us pause to remember our Shipmates, and reflect on their service, sacrifice, courage and indomitable fighting spirit.

 

Our namesake, Admiral Raymond Spruance was a battleship Admiral.

 

Admiral Raymond Spruance as Commander, Fifth Fleet With his staff, on board USS Indianapolis (CA-35), circa 1944-1945. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
Admiral Raymond Spruance as Commander, Fifth Fleet With his staff, on board USS Indianapolis (CA-35), circa 1944-1945. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

 

Prior to Midway, he had little experience with Naval Aviation, a community within our service that was then still in its infancy. But, in a sharp twist of fate, command of the Fleet Carrier Force came to rest upon his shoulders. Here, in this distant ocean, Admiral Spruance was tasked to wage war against a determined and capable enemy. Rather than shrink from this challenge, Admiral Spruance, in his characteristically calm, humble and deliberate manner, let slip the dogs of war with three words that would ring through history, “Launch the Attack.”

 

Admiral Spruance’s victory here at Midway helped to win the peace of the world in his time, but we, who sail in the wake of our Navy’s heroes, are charged with the continued fight to ensure peace and prosperity in our own age. I trust that you, like Admiral Spruance and our shipmates of years past, will not falter under the weight of this responsibility, but that you will continue to serve with the same Honor, Courage and Commitment.

 

Every day onboard SPRUANCE, I see you exuding the ethos of service and sacrifice, of warfighting first. Know that I am honored, with each watch, with every flight, to serve alongside you as your Captain and as a fellow Sailor in this, the most powerful Navy the world has ever known. Many more sharp twists lie ahead on history’s long path, but together in our service, we will ensure that the legacy of Midway lives on in our Navy and that the flame of peace and prosperity will long continue to light the world.

 

GOD SPEED and GOD BLESS, SPRUANCE. LAUNCH THE ATTACK!

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