Nonprofit seeks to have naval warship commissioned in Alaska

The guided-missile destroyer is named after former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens
The guided-missile destroyer is named after former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 3:13 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A new nonprofit has formed with the sole intention of bringing the recently-christened USS Ted Stevens — a Flight III Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer — to Alaska for its third and final step of bringing the ship into the battle fleet of the U.S. Navy.

The warship, named after the state’s late Sen. Ted Stevens, was christened in Pascagoula, Mississippi, last month.

Now, the USS Ted Stevens Commissioning Committee has formed at 501(c)(3) to develop a plan to bring the ship up from the Lower 48 for its commissioning.

“Our goal is to be able to have that commissioning here in Alaska,” said Capt. Brian Quin, chairman of the committee. “To be able to introduce the crew to Alaska, introduce Alaska to the crew, to celebrate the life and legacy of Ted Stevens the man, and to celebrate the life and legacy that’s yet to come for Ted Stevens the ship.”

Quin was the first Commanding Officer for the only other ship to be commissioned in the state, the USS Anchorage. That ceremony was held in May 2013.

President of the committee Lindsey Cashman said the national committee is still forming, with its first meeting as a nonprofit held on Tuesday.

“One of the biggest challenges that our committee has right now is to prepare for the team that’s going to decide if this ship will be commissioned in Alaska or elsewhere,” Cashman said. “My hope is in Alaska, and so what we need to do is build the team to make sure that happens.”

It’s a decision that will ultimately be made by the Secretary of the Navy, a position currently held by Carlos Del Toro. The goal of the commission is to petition the secretary to choose a location in Alaska as the site.

Both Quin and Cashman agree that Alaska is the most appropriate place to commission a warship named after Stevens, who died in a plane crash in 2010.

“Here, we get this opportunity to continue his legacy, and our hope and our goal is to inspire people to not forget who he was,” Cashman said.

According to a press release put out by the committee, if a location in Alaska is chosen as the site of the week-long commissioning ceremony, it would take around two years and $1.5 million to put together.

According to Cashman, most of the funding will come from private donations and business sponsorships.