Written By Caroline Duvall
On November 7th, 2015, the USS Farragut Destroyer (DDG-99) returned from her 8-month deployment. Friends and families stood on the dock at the Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida, to welcome the crew home. They arrived just in time to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th with their families.
At 509 feet long and weighing in at just over 9,000 tons, the USS Farragut was commissioned in June of 2006 and can accommodate almost 300 officers and sailors.
The USS Farragut Destroyer is an Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer, detailing the type of Destroyer and the kind of missiles it is built to carry. The ship’s official motto is “Prepared for Battle”.
The USS Farragut is the 5th ship to be named after Admiral David Farragut, who was the first Naval Officer to become a Rear Admiral. Born near the Holston River in July of 1801, just a few miles from Campbell Station, Admiral Farragut is admired for his bravery in the face of battle and his commitment to the United States Navy.
His service to his country also inspired the name of our city!
The Chapel at the Naval Academy in Annapolis has memorialized Admiral Farragut in a beautiful stained-glass window. The window shows a portrait of him in uniform lashed to the rigging on his ship, surrounded in smoke, holding binoculars in his left hand. Along the bottom frame of the window are the words Aug 5 MOBILE BAY 1846.
Admiral Farragut became a midshipman in the Navy at just nine years old. He spent several years on the sea fighting pirates and raiders in the Caribbean. He rapidly rose in Naval ranks, serving on the USS Essex and later assuming command of the USS Ferret. During the Mexican-American War, he commanded the USS Saratoga. It was not until he took command of the USS Hartford, however, that Admiral Farragut would be remembered throughout history for his bravery.
The Battle of Mobile Bay is remembered as a pivotal point in the Civil War. The Confederacy used the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River to move troops and supplies inland. The Union sought to take control of the port to block the supplies, sending several ships upriver to secure a victory. Mobile Bay was heavily mined with ‘torpedos’ that destroyed several of the Union’s Naval ships. Admiral Farragut lashed himself to the rigging of his ship so he could see above the gunsmoke and ordered his crew to sail the USS Hartford forward, despite the risk.
“Damn the torpedos!” is his famous line in the heat of battle, and the Union fleet took control of the port just hours later. His success at Mobile Bay became the defining moment in his Naval career. In December of 1864, Admiral Farragut became the first U.S. Officer in history to be given the title Admiral of the American Navy. He was the leader and commander of all Naval forces until his death in 1870.
Admiral Farragut’s tactical skill and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds attributed to his success. He is memorialized in the Naval Chapel, and his legacy lives on the active ships in the U.S. Naval fleet. His birthplace will be forever remembered in our town of Farragut in East Tennessee.
I would like to dedicate this article to the brave men and women serving our country. To my father, Lieutenant Commander Jeff Hoadley, and my brother, Midshipmen First Class William Hoadley. Thank you for protecting our freedom.