MASON, Ohio – In honor of a Navy vessel bearing its name, a Warren County community has once again welcomed members of the USS Mason’s crew to celebrate the Fourth of July with them.
The city of Mason invited and hosted five native Ohio crew members of the Navy destroyer to celebrate the holiday, interact with community members and enjoy all the city has to offer.
“It’s been an honor to host these young men and women here and to show our appreciation for their dedication that supports our every day freedoms,” said Vice Mayor Victor Kidd. “And what better time than the Independence Day holiday to make this connection with our troops aboard the USS Mason.”
LTJG Timothy M. McDaniel, CTTC Patrick D. Lockhart, PS2 Quinese N. Batty, OS3 Leah N. Brown and QMC David A. Mitchell spent time touring the Mason Veterans Memorial with the vice mayor and attended a dinner hosted by city council members.
The naval officers also shared their experiences with the Mason Library Summer Reading Program participants, met with local Scout troops and had lunch with seniors at the Mason Community Center.
Even with their busy schedule, the crew found time to visit Kings Island, dine with local veterans, and made sure to take in a Cincinnati Reds game and fireworks.
McDaniel, a graduate of Mason High School, also had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Dayton Dragons game.
The city’s relationship with the USS Mason (DDG 87) began in June 2001 when it was launched.
On April 12, 2003, when the vessel became the Navy's 37th and newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. At that time, members of Mason City Council attended the christening and since then the city and crew of the ship have maintained a strong relationship.
“Throughout the years, Mason has been fortunate to play host to crew members visiting the namesake community,” city officials wrote in a release.
This is the third ship with the name USS Mason. The first Mason (DD-191), in service from 1920 to 1941, was named for John Young Mason, well known for his service as the Secretary of the Navy for two American Presidents. The second Mason (DE-529) was named for Ensign Newton Henry Mason, a Naval Aviator who was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The current ship is named for the crew of the second Mason (DE-529), as it was the first ship in the U.S. Navy with this distinction of a predominantly African-American crew.
While the name of the ship isn't related to city or its founder William Mason, that doesn’t mean Mason hasn't left an indelible imprint on the ship.
One of five crew members from Ohio, McDaniel grew up in the area and went on to graduate from Mason High School in 2007. He then went on to the United States Naval Academy, earning a degree from the school in 2012.
Upon finishing up at the academy in Annapolis, Maryland, McDaniel selected the USS Mason for his first tour of duty. He was assigned to Operations Department as the Mason’s first lieutenant and now serves as its repair division officer.