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    USS STETHEM (DDG 63) Hosts Patricia Stethem Memorial

    Steelworkers Honor Patricia Stethem

    Photo By Ensign Connor Cogdill | Steelworkers of USS Stethem (DDG 63) present a shadow box to Richard Stethem in honor...... read more read more



    Story by Ensign Connor Cogdill 

    USS Stethem (DDG-63)

    SAN DIEGO, CA (March 4, 2022) – Steelworkers of USS Stethem held a memorial service alongside the Stethem family to recognize the life and legacy of Patricia L. Stethem, the mother of Robert Stethem and sponsor of her son’s Destroyer, after she passed away on February 20th, 2022 at the age of 85.

    Patricia Stethem was born on May 14th, 1936 in Cheshire, Connecticut where she spent her childhood and graduated from Cheshire High School in 1955. She joined the United States Navy in February of 1956 and was assigned to the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. In 1957, she married Richard Stethem, with whom she had four children: Sheryl, Kenneth, Patrick and Robert.

    Mrs. Stethem attended Virginia Beach Business School from 1971-1973 and was then hired at the United States Labor Department in Washington D.C. In 1982, she transferred to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces where she continued her professional career as a servant of the United States government.

    In June of 1985, tragedy befell Patricia, Richard, and their family. Their son, Robert Stethem, was returning home from overseas duty when the plane he was on was hijacked by terrorists. He was singled out as a U.S. Sailor and was beaten by the terrorists in an attempt to have their demands met. Robert courageously refused to aid the terrorists in meeting their demands, which in turn cost him his life as he was shot and killed.

    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. In honor of his exceptional heroism, USS Stethem was commissioned on October 21, 1995, and named after Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem. The Destroyer continuously honors Robert’s sacrifice, adopting the motto “Steadfast and Courageous” to highlight the valor and resolve he demonstrated.

    During Mrs. Stethem’s memorial ceremony, Steelworkers took the opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of a fellow Sailor, wife, mother, friend, and matriarch of this great destroyer. She will continue to be remembered as leaving behind an indelible legacy of tremendous moral character and steadfast commitment as the mother of the ship’s namesake and sponsor of Robbie’s destroyer.

    Commander Bryan Hart, Commanding Officer In USS Stethem, stated, “The love Patricia shared for our Steelworkers and for this warship resonates in our hearts and throughout the decks around us. Like her son, Robbie, she is vividly remembered by all. Although we will deeply miss Patricia’s physical presence here on earth, and the selfless contributions she made to molding the spirit of this warship during her first 26 years of service, we are grateful for the continuing bond the Stethem family maintains with us. It is what makes us unique, and what brands us as Steelworkers.”

    In attendance was Senior Chief Brian Strantz, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Underwater Construction Team Force Master Diver. Representing the Seabee community and speaking about the legacy of the Stethem name, he said, “When you think about the significance of duty, you think service before self, fighting through adversity, responsibility without regard of your own desires. It also makes you think about the Stethem’s motto, “Steadfast and Courageous”. All of that summed up to me in one word is the word Stethem. That is their creed, that was Patricia.”

    Richard Stethem reflected on the life, legacy, and memory of his wife, speaking about the significant influence she had on the Steelworkers and USS Stethem. He said, “She would be in tears today seeing the magnificent honor you have bestowed upon her. Thank you for caring about my beautiful wife and mother of our four fantastic children.”

    Mrs. Stethem’s oldest son and retired Navy Seal, Ken, shared with the audience, “She taught us not just in principle but also in practice to be proud, but always be humble. To have courage in the face of adversity, to have hope when there might not be any reason to have hope, and to have the resolve to carry on and fulfil your mission.” He continued saying that as a mother she always stressed the importance of faith and family, instilling those core principles into each of her four children.

    Patricia’s youngest child, Patrick, stated, “At the commissioning she gave the order to the Sailors to man the rails and bring Rob’s ship to life. And it did, you felt his spirit there. To the USS Stethem leadership and crew, past and present, Mom was always proud of your service. There is no more fitting place for her life to be celebrated than here with her Steelworkers. Steadfast and courageous Steelworkers.”

    The memorial service concluded with Steelworkers presenting the Stethem family with a shadow box containing a folded American flag that was flown over USS Stethem in honor of Patricia Stethem’s life. She will be remembered as a loving mother, unquestionable role model, and as an integral part of USS Stethem’s legacy. Patricia Stethem is survived by her husband Richard and her two sons, Ken and Patrick.

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



    Date Taken: 03.04.2022
    Date Posted: 03.07.2022 15:46
    Story ID: 415953
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 467
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