Navy destroyer to visit Mobile for Mardi Gras; free tours offered
al.com February 7, 2024
(Tribune News Service) — On Friday, a U.S. Navy destroyer will be at Mobile to serve as the city’s 2024 Mardi Gras ship, offering free tours during the holiday weekend.
The city announced Wednesday that the USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer designated DDG-75, will make the traditional visit this year. It’s not the first ship of its class to do so: The USS Mitcher visited in 2017, the USS James E. Williams in 2019 and the USS McFaul in 2020, for example.
According to the Navy, the Donald Cook was commissioned in 1998 after construction at Bath Iron Works in Maine and is homeported in Rota, Spain. It is named for a U.S. Marine Corps officer who died as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
According to the Department of Defense, Cook was captured shortly after entering service in Vietnam in late 1964. He survived for three years in captivity, during which time he “took responsibility for the men around him, despite the harsher treatment brought upon him” for doing so, and “shared his food and small amounts of medicine with other prisoners and took care of them when they were struggling, despite his own deteriorating health due to exposure, deprivation, malnutrition and disease.”
The ship’s motto is “Faith without Fear.”
“The Alabama Port Authority is proud to welcome the USS Donald Cook to the Port of Mobile for Mardi Gras 2024,” APA Director and CEO John Driscoll said. “A longtime partnership between the Port, the city, the Navy, and the Mobile Council of the Navy League, the arrival of this vessel is a great tradition for the City of Mobile’s revelers to enjoy.”
According to information provided by the city, the ship is due to begin its passage up Mobile Bay shortly after dawn on Friday, and is expected to arrive at Pier 2, just north of the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center, just after 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend a welcome ceremony starting at 11 a.m. (Gates open at 9:30 a.m., with parking available at the Convention Center.)
Reservations are not required for public tours, which will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Feb. 10-12.
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