Fort Worth and Rotary on the High Seas
In addition to being our Rotary Club’s centennial year, 2012 holds special significance as the year the history of Fort Worth and the history of the U.S. Navy converged with the commissioning of USS Fort Worth (LCS-3).
Rotary was at the heart of the community campaign to convince the secretary of the Navy to name a littoral combat ship after our city. Rotarian and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger spearheaded the effort, and announced the campaign at a Rotary Club meeting in 2006. The Rotary Club pledged to provide support to the ship and its crew throughout its service.
At one point, the program looked like to would run aground when the Defense Department pulled the plug on funding, but Granger and Rotarians never wavered in their effort.
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) represents a new direction in naval warfare. Designed to take U.S. power to the near-shore (littoral) waters of a combat zone, LCS is uniquely suited to counter modern, non-traditional threats like pirate and terrorists. The decision to name the third LCS hull after the City of Fort Worth was driven by two main players, Granger and former Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, backed by the Rotary Club and the greater Fort Worth community.
Granger christened the USS Fort Worth on December 4, 2010, as more than 90 Fort Worthians looked on in Marinette, Wisc. The ship underwent testing and outfitting for nearly two years prior to her commissioning on September 22, 2012.
Fort Worth Rotarians played an important part in the naming and commissioning of our city’s ship and they continue to be involved in support of the USS Fort Worth’s sailors and their families. Roger Williams served as the first committee chairman, then handed off those duties to T.D. Smyers.
Rotarians serving on the USS Fort Worth Commissioning and Support Committee
Bob Bolen, Will Courtney, Mae Ferguson, Eric Fox, Albon Head Jr., J.R. Labbe, Paul Paine, Dennis Shingleton, T.D. Smyers, Bill Thornton, Rice Tilley, J. Wayne Trimmer, Roger Williams
Written by – T.D. Smyers and J.R. Labbe