Tom L. Hovland, Capt. USN, Retired
USS Davidson (FF1045)
January 15, 1985 - April 15, 1987
August 4, 2003
Dear Davidson Crewmembers,
I was pleasantly surprised a few days ago to learn that the USS Davidson was "living on" by web site and an upcoming reunion this fall. We all owe a heartfelt thank you to Bob Schippers and his devoted volunteers for their energy and commitment to preserving the Davidson memory and providing a means for all who served on her to keep that connection.
Many times I have reflected on my "privileged" opportunity to command Davidson and the many fine crewmembers that were, in fact, the ship. Although I was "in command", I can assure you that I learned and grew professionally just as much as any sailor or officer onboard. Together we came together as a team and in 18 months became recognized as one of the top three performing ships of the 23 ships home ported in Pearl. Although the needs of the Navy did not include Davidson and other ships of Desron 35 forward deploying, the Davidson was always ready having earned all 8-battle efficiency departmental awards in 1986 and selected as the Squadron Flagship.
With Desron 35 designated as the first Midshipmen Training Squadron, Davidson did deploy to the west coast making visits to Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. As a training squadron, our variety and tempo of operations were actually greater than many ships forward deployed. When the Secretary of the Navy changed naval history and authorized the serving of beer and wine onboard for certain onboard events, Davidson was the first ship to do so in the Pacific. In the summer of 1986, Davidson hosted a formal reception onboard for nearly 100 members of the San Francisco navy league. They came aboard expecting tea and soda and couldn't believe the great spread of finger foods served in the helo hanger with a beer and wine bar "open for business"!
Ironically, after being relieved as Commanding Officer in April 1987 my next assignment as Fleet Operations Officer, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet included executing Davidson's de-commissioning on December 31, 1988. That was a sad but necessary step as I watched her pass from the U.S. Navy Ship Registry. She may be history now, but I know she still lives on in the many fine memories of all of us who were so proud to serve on her.
Tom L. Hovland, Captain, USN - Retired