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The Bell Tolls for Thee
Later this year the bell to the US Navy ship the USS Dubuque will ring out one last doleful peal. It will signal the end of service for the ship which has helped to defend freedom for more than 40 years. The Ghost Players had the good fortune to tour the ship and perform for the naval personnel and their families during their first two trips to Japan. There is footage of the Ghost Players visiting the USS Dubuque while in Japan in the documentary Ghost Player.
The ship has served during all major conflicts from Vietnam, through both Gulf Wars, and last year took part in the rescue of a ship that had been taken over by pirates in September 2010, off the coast of Somalia.
The ship was launched from the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Pascagoula, MS on August 6, 1966 and was commissioned on September 1, 1967 at the Norfolk Naval Base. The city of Dubuque was represented by then mayor Walter Pregler. He as well as present mayor, Roy Buel, will be at the ship's decommissioning ceremony this summer.
They will be bringing home one of the most treasured relics any ship has, the bell. The bells are used to mark time, call service members to stations and notify the crew when changes in duty are taking place. Inscribe inside most US Navy ship's bells are the names of the service member's children who have been baptized, if the ship's bell was used as the baptismal font. It will be interesting to see how many names are inscribe in USS Dubuque's bell when it is brought to Dubuque, IA after the ship is decommissioned.
The exact location of where the bell will be displayed in the city is yet to be determined. We're sure there will be more than a few Ghosts that welcome it to its next home.
To all defenders of freedom, we honor you, especially those of you who have served on the USS Dubuque.
This is a video of the tour the Ghosts took of the ship in 1996 while is Japan: Ghosts Tour
Here is an article from the TH which gives a bit more information about the two Dubuque mayors who will go get the bell: USS Dubuque Article