News & Updates

Port Tampa Bay to Host Naval Commissioning of USS Jack H. Lucas DDG 125 Warship

Port Tampa Bay is proud to serve as the host facility for the Naval Commissioning of the USS Jack H. Lucas DDG 125 warship on October 7, 2023. The Jack H. Lucas Commissioning Committee, Navy League of Tampa and U.S. Department of the Navy are working with the port to host this important ceremony.  

 Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship into active Navy service. The moment the commissioning pennant is broken at the masthead, a ship becomes a Navy command in her own right, and takes her place alongside the other active ships of the fleet. 

The commissioning ceremony is one of the most significant milestones in the life of a U.S. Navy ship and includes a weeklong event of festivities for the ship’s crew, the U.S. Navy and the Tampa Bay community. The USS Jack H. Lucas DDG 125 is currently under construction in Pascagoula, Mississippi but will travel to Tampa Bay for the ceremony.  

The ship is named for decorated veteran Jack H. Lucas. On February 20, 1945, 17-year-old Private First Class Lucas, serving in the 5th Marine Division, selflessly dove onto a grenade and simultaneously pulled another under his body, saving three of his fellow Marines. Although severely wounded, he survived, recovered, and was the youngest Marine ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor.    

The USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) will be an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, first of the Flight III variants and 75th overall in the class. On September 17, 2016, she was named by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.  

During the week of the commissioning, the public will be invited to take part in celebrating the ship’s arrival, a culinary challenge, and a fireworks display, that will culminate with the commissioning ceremony on October 7, 2023. Members of the U.S. Naval Department, federal, state and local lawmakers, and the widow of Jack H. Lucas, Ruby Lucas will take part in the milestone celebration.  

The USS Jack H. Lucas Commissioning Committee is a body formed to work with the Tampa Chapter of the Navy League to plan and execute the many celebratory events surrounding the commissioning and leave a legacy in support of the ship’s leaders and crew. The committee is hosted and led by The Navy League, Port Tampa Bay, sponsor companies and many distinguished civic and retired military leaders from around the Tampa region. Port President & CEO Paul Anderson serves as a co-chair of the Jack H. Lucas Commissioning Committee along with Skip Witunski, President of the Tampa Bay Navy League and is led by Executive Director Darryl Adams. Honorary chairs of the event include U.S. Senator Rick Scott, U.S. Congressman Daniel Webster, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.  

To learn more about the schedule of eventsthe ship and her history, view photos of the vessel, the legacy of Jack H. Lucas and to reserve tickets to the commissioning ceremony and other public events, visit