Families of some of those on board are Tanysha Campbell, 20-month-old Ahmad Walker and his mother, Tangala, sister Tesia and brother Amir.

Homeward bound

Families await today's arrival
of the USS Chung-Hoon, which will
be making its new home in Hawaii

Relative of destroyer's namesake to pay tribute

The past two years have been difficult for the 95 families of sailors preparing to put Pearl Harbor's newest destroyer, the USS Chung-Hoon, into service.

Tammy Bailey got to see her husband, Petty Officer Bryan Bailey, after more than a year when he flew to Hawaii in June to spend two days to watch his eldest daughter, Brandy, graduate from Radford High School.

Tera Fitzgerald spent five months living with relatives in California and Alabama after her husband, Petty Officer Christ Fitzgerald, received orders to join the Chung-Hoon's pre-commissioning detachment in San Diego in January. She and her 5-year-old daughter, Ashley, arrived here in April.

Emotions will run high today when the 510-foot warship ties up at Pearl Harbor and joins the Pacific Fleet. The Chung-Hoon, which left San Diego on Aug. 31, will be commissioned here on Sept. 18. Its ship's company includes 35 officers and 295 enlisted sailors. Ninety-five of them are married.

The USS Chung-Hoon arrives at Pearl Harbor today. Families of some of those on board are Tera Fitzgerald and daughter Ashley.

Separations are an accepted way of life for Navy families. However, it can get complicated when it comes to bringing a new warship into service, especially relocating 95 families. Of that number, 65 have chosen to move to the islands while their spouses serve on the Chung-Hoon.

Tangala Walker was allowed to move her family of four children from San Diego to Pascagoula, Miss., in August 2003 when her husband, Petty Officer Ezel Walker, joined the Chung-Hoon's crew.

Other families remained at the old duty station until after the Chung-Hoon was christened Jan. 11, 2003.

Bailey said she was not given much of a choice and had only three weeks to pack her belongings and those of her four children and move from Washington to Hawaii in September 2003.

"There was no family support group here because I came so early," Bailey said. "The housing office didn't even know what the Chung-Hoon was. ... Now the other wives and families are here, there's so much to do."

Families of some of those on board are Brandy Bailey, brother Brendon and their mother, Tammy.

Fitzgerald said moving to Hawaii was like coming home since her husband had been stationed on the oiler USS Cimmaron from 1995-98.

"My old home in the Hale Moku Navy housing area is just a pile of dust next to the Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary School," she added, "but I moved into a house in a nearby complex."

Margie Williams, who is married to Cmdr. Kenny Williams, the Chung-Hoon's first skipper, has made seven moves during her husband's 20-year career. She joined her husband in Mississippi in May 2003 after he assumed command of the Chung-Hoon, and stayed there for a year.

But even while he was stationed in Bahrain as commander of Mine Countermeasures Division 3, her husband worked on numerous pre-commissioning details, including selecting the ship's seal and motto, she said.

Families of some of those on board are Margie Williams, son Mack and daughter Courtney.

The Chung-Hoon is the 43rd member of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers. It is the first U.S. warship named after a Chinese-Hawaiian American, Rear Adm. Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon, who was born here. He received the Navy Cross and Silver Star medals while commander of the destroyer USS Sigsbee, which on April 14, 1945, assisted in shooting down 20 Japanese planes while screening an aircraft carrier strike force off the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Included in the festivities will be a reunion Wednesday of 19 veterans who served on the Sigsbee when its commander was awarded the Silver Star. Williams will host a reception on the battleship Missouri next Friday, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce plans a major Chinatown celebration for the ship's crew on Sept. 26.


Relative of destroyer’s
namesake to pay tribute

A relative of one of the survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack plans to pay tribute aboard the Navy's newest destroyer -- the USS Chung-Hoon -- as it slides past the USS Arizona Memorial this morning.

Robert St. Claire said he wanted to be on deck when the 510-foot warship "sailed into Pearl Harbor for the first time and be able to cast ti leaf leis onto the waters as we passed the USS Arizona."

This is because his uncle, Rear Adm. Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon, for whom the destroyer is named, was stationed on the battleship USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. Chung-Hoon survived the attack and commanded a destroyer, the USS Sigsbee, during the invasion of Okinawa.

With the permission of Cmdr. Kenny Williams, the Chung-Hoon's skipper, St. Claire and his wife, Faith, joined the destroyer's crew of 330 in San Diego on Aug. 31 for the voyage to Hawaii.

"It takes some getting used to, seeing women as officers and members of the crew aboard a warship of the U.S. Navy -- something that is foreign to the experiences of Uncle Gordon," St. Claire said earlier this week in an e-mail to the Star-Bulletin.

St. Claire's father, Dr. Edwin Kekuaokalani Chung-Hoon, was the older brother of Gordon Chung-Hoon.

St. Claire said the Sept. 18 commissioning of the Chung-Hoon at Pearl Harbor is a significant date in his family's history. His brother -- Richard Rick Paiea St. Claire -- was born on Sept. 18, 1942, and was named after his uncle, the admiral and World War II Navy Cross and Silver Star recipient.

St. Claire said that when his brother was commissioned in 1965, one of the pilots who was saved by the crew of his uncle's ship -- the USS Sigsbee -- was present. His brother would survive two tours in Vietnam flying an A-4 Skyhawk jet fighter off the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, but was killed in 1972 in a noncombat flight exercise in Florida.

On Sept. 18, St. Claire added, "We pay tribute to our Paiea warriors, our hard-shell crab warriors."

USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93)

Arleigh Burke class: 43rd ship in its class of Aegis Burke guided-missile destroyers

Motto: "Imua e na Koa Kai" -- Go Forward Sea Warriors

Keel laid: Jan. 14, 2002

Launched: Dec. 15, 2002

Christened: Jan. 11, 2003

Length: 509 1/2 feet

Displacement: 9,200 tons

Speed: 30 knots plus



E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com