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    USS STETHEM (DDG 63) Hosts Stethem Family Visit

    Stethem Family Aboard USS Stethem (DDG 63)

    Photo By Ensign Connor Cogdill | The Stethem family visits aboard USS Stethem! From left to right: Patrick Stethem,...... read more read more



    Story by Ensign Connor Cogdill 

    USS Stethem (DDG-63)

    SAN DIEGO, CA (January 14, 2022) – Steelworkers of USS Stethem hosted the Stethem family during their visit for a tour of the destroyer and had the incredible opportunity to connect with the family. Robert Stethem’s younger brother, Patrick Stethem, was joined by his wife Katherine, daughters Genevieve and Gabi, as well as his son, who is also named Robert Stethem, after the American hero.

    USS Stethem is named after 2nd Class Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem and was commissioned on October 21, 1995, in Port Hueneme, California, as the thirteenth Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. The ship’s namesake was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 62 in Gulfport, Mississippi, as a Steelworker Third Class. After deployments to Guam and Diego Garcia, he attended Navy dive school and was subsequently assigned to Underwater Construction Team One (UCT-1) in Little Creek, Virginia.

    Robert Stethem was posthumously promoted to Steelworker Second Class (SW2) and ultimately to Master Chief Constructionman (CUCM) for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom as he laid down his life for the United States and his fellow Americans. USS Stethem continuously honors Robert’s sacrifice, proudly adopting the motto “Steadfast and Courageous” to highlight the exceptional heroism he demonstrated in June of 1985.

    The Stethem family visit included a detailed tour of Robbie’s destroyer that highlighted the progress of successful transition of the ship out of the maintenance phase after a two year Extended Dry-Docking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA). Steelworkers demonstrated and displayed their knowledge on navigation, damage control, and weapons systems to the family, giving fun and interactive training on the ship’s capabilities. The Stethem family served lunch to Steelworkers from the galley, as an act of service, thanking each sailor for their contribution and dedicated commitment to our nation and Robert Stethem’s destroyer.

    Commander John Kajmowicz, Commanding Officer of USS Stethem, shared with the family the hand-crafted Bible display case holding the Bible Robert’s sister gave him. It was given to the ship and is now permanently displayed in the Commanding Officer’s Cabin. The Bible display case was forged from steel from the hull of the ship and was given to the Steelworkers by the SeaBees of Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 as a ceremonious gift to commemorate Robert’s lasting legacy. He also presented the family with UCT-1 and SeaBee flags that were flown underway on the ship.

    Cmdr. Kajmowicz shared with the family how much Robert Stethem’s story has impacted him personally and how commanding the ship has been the highlight of his Naval career. He spoke about the profound honor of serving onboard as a Steelworker and how Robbie’s legacy and spirt are remembered every single day.
    The visit concluded with an All Hands Call in which each member of the Stethem family gave heartfelt remarks to the crew. Each family member spoke about the importance and symbolism of the ship and thanked each Steelworker for their unwavering dedication in defending the United States of America. The remarks made by the family were an opportunity to reflect and appreciate Robert’s exceptional heroism and his impact that is still felt today.

    The All Hands Call also recognized Steelworkers GM1 Christopher Brown, STG2 Ethan Saylor and BM3 Kevin Catilo for being frocked to the next paygrade, as well as FCA2 Austin Halliburton for earning his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification.

    The Steelworkers of USS Stethem continue to maintain a close relationship with both the Stethem family and SeaBee community. Earlier this year the Steelworkers of USS Stethem and Seabees of Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 gathered to honor the 36th anniversary of the passing of Robert Stethem during a memorial ceremony on June 15th, 2021, onboard the ship.

    Past and present Steelworkers are firmly committed to preserving the Stethem legacy of steadfast devotion to duty and courageous service. His spirit lives on and can be observed daily in the Steelworkers and in the ship that is Robbie’s destroyer.

    USS Stethem is currently homeported in San Diego, California at Naval Base San Diego undergoing Basic Phase training as a proud member of Destroyer Squadron 9.



    Date Taken: 01.14.2022
    Date Posted: 01.24.2022 13:54
    Story ID: 413329
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 330
    Downloads: 1