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Veterans Visit Their Ship’s Namesake

USS Calvert carried thousands into three warsVeterans Visit Their Ship’s Namesake

Veterans of the USS Calvert (APA-32) and families visited Calvert County, their ship’s namesake, for the first time, on a day that coincided with a blustery nor’easter.
    The veterans meet annually, this time in Baltimore, where they toured Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, where the amphibious assault ship was built. They also visited the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
    Commissioned in October 1942, the Calvert served in Operation Torch, the landings in North Africa later that year, and the invasion of Sicily in 1943. The ship continued to serve in the Pacific, earning further battle honors in landings at Makin Island, the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and the Philippines. The Calvert then served through the Korean War and into the early years of Vietnam. The 491-foot ship was decommissioned in May 1966 and sold for scrap on February 14, 1977.
    The Calvert typically carried about 48 officers and 510 enlisted men. Since 1979, the USS Calvert Associates has helped keep the former crew of thousands in touch.
    Four dozen veterans and families visited three sites in Calvert, starting with Calvert Marine Museum, which hosted the visit and is the repository for the USS Calvert collection of donated memorabilia.
    “I planned this reunion because of the collection,” organizer Chris Funck told Bay Weekly. “We wanted to have folks who could go see the impact when they donate their materials and see the great work the museum is doing. We had a great tour of Sparrows Point as well. Our Maryland visit was beyond expectations.”
    In Solomons, the veterans also stopped at the former site of the Naval Amphibious Training Base. Marines, sailors and soldiers from that base stormed Chesapeake beaches by the thousands in World War II training exercises before fighting at the shoreline fronts (read more at http://tinyurl.com/solomons-landing). A single sailor formed in bronze in Toby Mendez’s statue On Watch now marks the spot where 68,000 trained from 1942 to 1945 for their first amphibious landing attacks.
    The veterans’ Calvert visit ended at the Prince Frederick Library, where you can see part of the USS Calvert collection through October.