YUMA, Ariz. -- The Secretary of the Navy, Honorable Ray Mabus, commemorated the harmonious coexistence between the community of Yuma, Ariz., and its military installations in an official naming ceremony for the United States Naval Ship Yuma at Gateway Park in Yuma, Friday.
At 10 a.m., the ceremony commenced with words from the Mayor of Yuma, Douglas Nicholls, who addressed the city’s utilization of militaristic capabilities over the past two centuries.
“It is easy and apparent to see that the Yuma area has a deep and connected history with the United States military,” Nicholls addressed to the audience. “From the early days of Fort Yuma, when the military protected the travelers who crossed the Colorado River, to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Depot, that provided supplies to the military in the Wild West, Yuma has always played a vital role in the U.S. military structure.”
Nicholls went on to explain how the superiority of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground has been established over the past half-century. This increasing government prestige and consequent economic upsurge, has allowed Yuma County to develop and thrive to unprecedented levels.
“The community support of our local active personnel and veterans is adherent in Yuma’s social fabric,” said Nicholls. “I believe it would be hard to find a community that is more welcoming to their military community than Yuma. We understand the importance of the military to protect our freedoms, to protect our ways of life, and to provide for our future.
“The Yuma community stands united with its military installations, as the Yuma military facilities stand united with our community,” Nicholls added.
Prior to addressing the crowd, the secretary was honored with a framed American Creed, given by Dean Hager, the President of The Navy League of the United States Yuma Chapter.
Mabus noted in his speech that this ceremony was simply the commencement to a bright future for Yuma and its coinciding military installations – that the city will not only uphold the high distinction and production demonstrated in the past half-century, but take it to new flights.
“This ship [USNS Yuma] is going to bear the name Yuma all around the world and people who have never heard of Yuma will know about it, and will know why a ship was named for it,” explained Mabus. “That close connection is one of the things that is the most important, because the Navy and the Marine Corps are America's away team.”