It is my privilege to greet the crew of the USS Trathen and their families as you gather for your 2001 reunion in Crystal City, Virginia.
During more than twenty-one years of steadfast service, the Trathen proudly represented our Nation throughout the world. As a "greyhound of the fleet," the Trathen earned eight battle stars during World War II, two in the Korean War, and provided wartime support off the coast of Vietnam. The destruction of an enemy train in Korea inflicted significant damage on the enemy, and earned the crew of the Trathen entry into the coveted "Train Busters Club" for Navy vessels.
Those who served on this ship have a right to be proud of their service. You served America with valor and distinction, and carried the great spirit of the United States Navy into the fire of three wars.
In our Nation's rise from thirteen struggling colonies to a mighty Nation of unparalleled properity and leadership, there is one enduring truth: Our strength, our greatness, and our future have been secured by Americans-like the crew of the Trathen-who, time and again, have risked their lives, their future, and their sacred honor to defend a cause, a belief larger than themselves. Their legacy is our freedom.
We are indebted to all who served aboard the USS Trathen, and to all who have ever worn the uniforms of our armed services. As a former Naval officer, I take special pride in saluting those of you who have gathered today at this reunion of the ship's crewmembers. I wish you a most enjoyable event, and fair winds and following seas in the days and years ahead.
Anthony J. Principi