USS Gravely to deploy Friday as NATO Flagship

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK — The U.S. Navy Destroyer the USS Gravely will deploy Friday as NATO Flagship.

AT SEA – SEPTEMBER 25, 2011: In this handout released by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) is underway during the multinational UNITAS Atlantic 53-2012 exercise conducted in the western Caribbean Sea September 25, 2011 at sea. (Photo by U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

According to Navy officials, the departure of the USS Gravely is part of a regularly-scheduled deployment to conduct maritime operations as the flagship of NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 in the Navy’s U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

The USS Gravely, a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, was commisioned in 2010. And its home port is Naval Station Norfolk

The ship is named after Samuel Lee Gravely, who became the first African American commissioned from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course. He would go on to become the first African-American to command a U.S. Navy warship (Theodore E. Chandler), command an American warship under combat conditions (Taussig), command a major naval warship (Jouett).

Gravely, who is from Richmond, also became the first African American admiral, the first African American to rise to the rank of Vice Admiral, and the first African-American to command a U.S. Fleet (Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet). Admiral Gravely was also highly decorated, with decorations including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Navy Commendation Medal, according to the U.S. Navy.

Commander Justin R. Hodges will be the commanding officer of the USS Gravely when it deploys Friday. He is a 1997 graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

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