Black History Month: NAACP Moss Point – Jackson County and Chevron hosted Honorable Andrew Young, U.N. Ambassador, Civil Rights Leader

Civil-rights-leader-120-1-e1518442032859 Black History Month: NAACP Moss Point - Jackson County and Chevron hosted Honorable Andrew Young, U.N. Ambassador, Civil Rights Leader

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PASCAGOULA – NAACP Moss Point-Jackson County Branch partnered with Chevron Pascagoula Refinery to host a breakfast reception and presentation with the Honorable Andrew Young on February 6. Young is an American politician, diplomat, and activist. An early leader in the civil rights movement, he later became active in politics—serving first as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia, then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and, finally, Mayor of Atlanta. 

Over 200 people attended, including about 20 students from Magnolia Middle School in Moss Point. Chevron partnered with the NAACP to bring Young to speak about his experiences and remaining positive in the face of adversity.

Alan Sudduth, Chevron Public and Government Affairs Manager for Mississippi, welcomed the audience  Then Reggie Aaron, Chevron engineer and leader of refinery’s Black Employee Network, introduced Young. for his keynote address.

“I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen a lot of things,” Young said, “and it upsets me when people say things are no better now than they were back in the 60s.

“Even though things are so much better, they’re still not perfect. So what I try to do is help us understand where we are…. I lived in New Orleans in the middle of a block with an Irish grocery store on one corner, an Italian bar on another, the Nazi Party was on the third corner—and they were hailing Hitler. I was born in 1932, this was about 1936, and I remember it because the way my father explained to me about racism was to take me to the segregated movie to see Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. And he says about the white supremacists who were in the Nazi Party, who were hailing Hitler 50 yards from where I was born, that white supremacy is a sickness. And you don’t let sick people get you upset—you don’t get mad with sick people. He was a dentist, and he said, when people wake me up in the middle of the night with their teeth hurting, I don’t get mad, I try to fix them.

“You don’t ever get mad with people who are sick. And he said ‘don’t get mad, get smart. If you lose your temper in a fight, you lose the fight.

“Things are changing—and one of the things that we learned as children is the world is everchanging, but God is still the same. So order my steps, and I will praise your name! Now, if that’s where we’re coming from, the world has never been as good as it is today.” 

Closing remarks were delivered by Curley Clark, President of the Moss Point-Jackson County NAACP.

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Business of the Week: Crazy B’s Coffee & Confections

Our Business of the Week is Crazy B’s Coffee & Confections in Pascagoula! Lately, they’ve been busy making King Cakes in addition to their other delicious pastries and coffee drinks. You’ll recognize their beautiful King Cakes from our current King Cake giveaway!

Crazy B’s offers a variety of hot, iced and frozen coffee drinks, teas and smoothies. They have fresh baked cookies, muffins and pastries along with specialty candies and other sweets. They are now serving Kolaches in a variety of flavors and chicken salad sandwiches on croissants.

“I love being a part of the growing Jackson County and Pascagoula business community! We enjoy our customers as much as we enjoy making crazy confections!  We are so proud of the support we’ve received and look forward to many years more with the Crazy B’s family!” said Susan Kendrick, Owner/Pastry Chef.

Support your local businesses!  Stop by:

1759 Market St (23.28 mi)
Pascagoula, Mississippi 39567
(228) 696-8775
Hours 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Mon-Sat
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Audubon’s Master Naturalist Class Now Open for Registration

master-naturalist-class Audubon's Master Naturalist Class Now Open for Registration

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The Pascagoula River Audubon Center is starting 2018 off right with their Audubon Naturalist Volunteer Training program.

The program allows community members to take part in an exciting and insightful class at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. The Audubon Naturalist Volunteer Training program is designed to expand participants’ understanding of our local environments. The course stays true to the center’s educational mission of connecting people not only to nature, but to our own region’s unique ecology.

Participants in the program are taught about the basic processes that formed and affect the landscape around them, the habitats and organisms that make up and live within the landscape, and the key social and environmental issues affecting the environment. The underlying theme of the Audubon Naturalist program is that habitats exist and function as integrated parts of the overall landscape. As such, the program is habitat-based and focuses attention on the major habitat types in the area where volunteers are trained. The end results are volunteers that are well-versed in local natural history.

The Master Naturalists finish the course ready to teach others about natural history in Mississippi- so they become incredibly helpful and confident volunteers at any number of sites along the Coast. “We can’t run our Center without their time, knowledge, and energy- we utilize their talents for everything from teaching summer camp programs to creating new displays to put on exhibit to planting native plants on our grounds”, said Erin Parker with the Audubon Center. “We offer the course twice a year, once during the winter/early spring and a second in the summer so that teachers can take it for credit during their brief summer vacation!”

“What’s great about the Master Naturalists is that they can help us with all kinds of things, from teaching to native plant landscaping to citizen science projects”, says Parker. “Some of them come weekly, some monthly, some complete projects at home that we incorporate into our exhibits or grounds. And after they’re trained, they might also volunteer at one of the many other sites across the coast- from the Grand Bay NERR to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge to the Crosby Arboretum”, she said. 

This program is based on the Mississippi Master Naturalist Program, developed by Mark W. LaSalle for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. The program began in coastal Mississippi in 1998 with support from the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery. The Audubon Naturalist program is also supported by Chevron. The program expanded into north Mississippi in 2005 with additional funding provided by a grant from the North Central Mississippi Resource Conservation & Development Council and the Natural Resources Initiative of North Mississippi.

The class costs $250 for non-members of the Center and $225 for members. It includes ten days of teaching, 4 books, and a giant binder of materials, plus all the field trips. “We feel that it’s a great value for people that are interested in really learning about our coastal habitats and ecosystems” said Parker. 

The Naturalist program for winter 2018 will take place on Wednesdays running from January 17th through March 21.Parker mentions how the program is a series, and everything builds on the previous class. While there is a different focus each week, everything is interconnected. Participants get to learn everything from geology to weather to plants to wildlife and get to take field trips to a wide range of ecosystems along the Coast.

To register for the Master Naturalist class, fill out the registration form on their site. Please contact Erin Parker at 228.475.0825 or for more information.

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Steinberger Named State’s Top Lawyer

Karl-Steinberger Steinberger Named State's Top Lawyer

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Pascagoula attorney Karl Steinberger was recently honored as the 2017 Lawyer of the Year and as one of the Top 40 Leaders in Law by the Mississippi Business Journal. Steinberger, who is a shareholder and director at Heidelberg, Steinberger P.A., was selected for his outstanding efforts and accomplishments in the legal practice.

“I’m very fortunate and quite humbled to be named as a leader in the legal profession and honored to be recognized with some of the state’s best attorneys,” said Steinberger. “For over 40 years, I’ve worked to represent my clients’ best interests and am thankful for a career which I’ve helped many people and different organizations.”

Steinberger has been consistently recognized as an Outstanding Lawyer of America and as a Mid-South Super Lawyer. He is an active member of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and serves as the President of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.   In the past, he also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Mississippi Bar Association.

Steinberger has been practicing law in Pascagoula since 1976. His specialty is employment law and workers compensation, and he also focuses on insurance defense, products liability, personal injury and wills and estates.

He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Law.

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Huntington Ingalls Christen’s its Eighth National Security Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757)

midgett_launch-300x200 Huntington Ingalls Christen's its Eighth National Security Cutter <em>Midgett</em> (WMSL 757)Ingalls Shipbuilding christened its fifth ship this year, the national security Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757). Ingalls Shipbuilding President, Brian Cuccias welcomed Jazania O’Neal, grandaughter of the ship’s namesake and sponsor on Saturday morning.

Midgett (WMSL 757) joins BertholfWaescheStrattonHamiltonJamesMunro and Kimball as the eighth Legend-class National Security Cutter built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. The Legend-class plays an important role in enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater. A Legend-class cutter carries enough food and consumables to stay at sea for 60 days and has the ability to conduct replenishment and refuel at sea in order to extend patrols.

Midgett (WMSL 757) is named in honor of 10 members of the Midgett family who earned seven gold and three silver Lifesaving Medals for their heroic deeds and decades of service. “We often speak of our service as a family, our Coast Guard family,” said Adm. Charles Michel, vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who was the ceremony’s keynote speaker. “The Midgett name takes that seriously with a family legacy unprecedented in the armed services, a family that is all about service before self. Such a special name deserves to be emblazoned on a special platform. The Ingalls Shipbuilding team have built this incredible platform, something to be incredibly proud of and something the men and women of the United States Coast Guard take very proudly.”


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The Battle of Buffett Beach Happening This Weekend

IMG_4181-300x225 The Battle of Buffett Beach Happening This WeekendThe Battle of Buffett Beach is going down this weekend in Pascagoula. The City has been busy building obstacles, ensuring all the awards, medals, t-shirts and materials are ready to go. Pascagoula has also been busy coordinating with Jackson County Road Dept. and Jackson County Solid Waste Dept. to get the sand obstacles ready on the beach and the tires delivered for the course.  Sponsors play a key role in the race as well.  Brock Services, LLC had donated scaffolding for the race start and finish lines as well as a few obstacles.  JE Borries, Inc. has donated the pilings for the obstacles and many other sponsors have provided funding to help offset some costs of the race.

“Battle on Buffett Beach is a sand run/obstacle race that anybody can participate in.  We have a youth course for kids 6-13 and a main race course for youths 14-17 and adults 18+.  The event brings people from all over the region to enjoy beautiful Pascagoula for the weekend.  We are excited about this year’s race and appreciate all of our participants and sponsors.  We look forward to seeing everyone on the battleground,” says Darcie Crew from the city of Pascagoula. 

To date there are 244 participants registered.  The last day to register on-line is Nov. 30th at 11:59pm.  There will be last minute registration at Downtown for the Holidays on Friday, Dec. 1st from 5-8pm.  There is no race day registration. Many people from the Mobile and Pensacola area have registered, Louisiana and Hattiesburg, Brookhaven, Jackson and North Mississippi are participating as well. IMG_4181-300x225 The Battle of Buffett Beach Happening This Weekend

This year, there are more obstacles to challenge the participants but still plan to keep the race fun. Battle of Buffett Beach is this  Saturday, Dec. 2nd.  Elites race at 8:45 am and the first Open Wave starts at 9:20am.

If you would like to participate you may register by clicking here:


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Pay it Forward Friday: Mary Meldren, Our Daily Bread Director

IMG_0140 Pay it Forward Friday: Mary Meldren, Our Daily Bread Director

Our Daily Bread Director Mary Meldren (File photo provided by GulfLive)

Ten years ago, Mary Meldren found herself at the doorstep of Our Daily Bread, a soup kitchen in Pascagoula, after her elderly neighbor did not receive both meals he had been signed up to have delivered.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” a man said upon meeting her. “We just don’t have a cook.”

As she watched sweat drip down the man’s bowed head, Mary found herself overcome with a notion she couldn’t explain. 

“Well I  cook,” she responded.

And just like that, the man offered her a job to start as a cook the following Monday morning. She immediately drove to Imperial Palace to quit her high-paying corporate position and has spent her time at Our Daily Bread ever since.

“I know God put me here for a reason,” Meldren said. “I get to do what I love to do – cook until I drop.”

Our Daily Bread has served the Pascagoula community as a soup kitchen for 36 years. It feeds more than 3,500 people a month (more than 4,000 a month during the summer) 7 days a week, including holidays. Meldren said the relationship with local churches, restaurants, grocery stores and youth groups across the United States and beyond has allowed for a volunteer base that keeps the organization going strong.

This community, she said, is critical to providing fresh, healthy food to residents in need within a safe environment.

“We’re a very giving place,” Meldren said. “It’s a very welcoming environment. People know they can come here and not be judged or looked down on. The human body is just hungry.”

But before she served as the director at Our Daily Bread, Meldren said many people are surprised to hear the story that landed her where she is today.

Born as Mary Dailey, she said that at four months old, after her mother and father’s divorce, her mother sold her illegally to a family in England. This is where she spent most of her younger years until her father found her and brought her back to live with him at the Sioux Bayou Fish Camp in Gautier.

“I was new to the area, and I didn’t have many friends,” she said. “So I would take some of the things from the bread truck in the neighborhood, like Twinkies, and give them to the other kids. It earned me the nickname ‘Dailey Bread.'”

Mary then spent time working in a variety of fields, including serving as a deputy sheriff and in a corporate position at Imperial Palace. During this time, she married, raised five boys, coached sports, led Boy Scout troops, and more. 

It was after her youngest was in school that she found herself with more free time, and she said she would spend most of that time riding her horse. When she came across an elderly neighbor whose grass needed mowed, she asked if he needed help. But what she found was that not only did he struggle with keeping his yard mowed, but he found himself living on only peanut butter for days. She immediately went to Our Daily Bread and signed him up for their meal delivery service (which was discontinued because of funding in June 2014). The program delivered two meals per day, and when he only received one meal, she found herself at the organization’s door.

After starting as a cook, she eventually also took on the role of director. In her time there, she started a vegetable garden, used her severance check from Imperial Palace to purchase restaurant equipment and supplies, hired the U.S. Navy Seabees to paint the building, added air conditioning and more. She said the changes have dramatically changed the reputation of the organization.

“In the past, it used to be if you wanted needles, prostitutes, etc., you could go to Our Daily Bread,” Meldren said. “I worked to turn that around and took more of a holistic approach to the food, too.”

She said she’s experienced a number of ups and downs while serving the organization. For example, when the delivery services ended in 2014, the last day of deliveries occurred in stormy, dark weather. Volunteers delivered all 487 meals in the pouring rain. In addition, the building experienced major flood damage.

On the other hand, she said she’s also experienced some miracles.

“One night, a man and his wife walked into the building after a long day of cooking,” Meldren said. “The man went to the woman who had been working there that day and asked what their biggest expenses were. After they answered, he pulled out cash from his briefcase and gave it to them.”

Mary said she went into work the next morning and saw an additional gift from the man – a piano, something Mary had always hoped for. That day, she found out the man had passed away the night before.

“God works his ways in magnificent ways,” Meldren said.

Today, Our Daily Bread continues to serve meals to the community every day of the year. Seniors come in at 10:30 a.m., and everyone else can come starting at 11:30 a.m. Donations are needed and greatly appreciated, including non-food items such as napkins, disposable silverware, aluminum foil, 39-gallon garbage bags, dish soap and more. Call 228-769-7510 for more information.

Even after her 10 years with the organization, Meldren said there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.

“What else is there to do but to praise God and give back to Him what He gives to you,” she said. “I’m extremely honored to still be here.”

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Tips and Resources for Taking Care of Premature Babies from a Local Pediatrician

drgphoto Tips and Resources for Taking Care of Premature Babies from a Local Pediatrician

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November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, a time for families nationwide/in Jackson County to think about the health of expectant mothers and babies, and about how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. 

According to the March of Dimes, Mississippi has the highest rates of premature births in the U.S. at 13.6%. March of Dimes notes Jackson County is at 10.4%, which is still higher than the national average. Having multiple births also increases the chance of prematurity. March of Dimes also mentions that close to 60 percent of all twins and more than 90 percent of triplets are born prematurely (before 37 weeks). 

Dr. Yolanda Gutierrez of Pascagoula’s Pediatric Care Center is one of the leading and most caring pediatricians on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After completing her rotations through general medicine, Dr. Gutierrez discovered her passion for working with children and thus completed her internship and residency at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. Over her 25 years in private practice, Dr. Gutierrez has worked with a number of premature babies as her patients. Gutierrez shares some helpful insights on common myths and tips she gives to parents on premature babies and their care.

Myth #1: “Premature babies are the same as average-sized ones- they’re just smaller” 

Many people believe a premature baby can behave the same way an average-sized baby can. They think because they were born early that you just have to be more gentle with them. This is not the case at all. Care for premature babies is much more precise and strict than that of a non-premature infant. 

“Premature babies are born with immature lungs and come out with a number of different problems that have to be addressed not only immediately, but also long term”, says Gutierrez. 

Premature babies are also prone to developing infections because their immune system is not fully developed. 

Myth #2: “Premature babies can be fed like an average child” 

When your baby is first born, the healthcare team may give them fluids and nutrition through an intravenous (IV line) if they are extremely premature or have breathing difficulties. Alternatively, the doctors may decide that they are mature enough to take milk through a small tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach. Breast milk is the best choice for your baby. 

It is important for milk feeds to be introduced in a timely way – not too quickly but not too slowly – and your doctor will have the expertise to decide this. This progression must be very gradual because premature babies – especially those born at 34 weeks or less – are slow to cope with milk that goes into their stomachs and have more problems with absorbing nutrients. “It’s important to advise these parents on correct feeding and determining how much is too much and what exactly is the right amount for their child”, says Dr. Gutierrez. 

Myth #3: “It’s safe for premature babies to be around other people and out in public”

Parents of premature newborns face even more worries about their baby’s health. Due to immature immune systems that haven’t completely developed, preemies have an increased risk of catching viruses that may be nothing more than a nuisance for us, but can be potentially life threatening to them. Some of these risks can be avoided by understanding when it’s safe to head out with your baby or invite visitors over, and when it’s best to stay inside and away from the crowds. 

“They can’t be around other sick kids or adults”, says Gutierrez. “Viral illnesses are a top concern with premature infants and that is one of the main reasons why our clinic has 2 waiting rooms- one for babies and one for general”, she said. “Parents can trust that they don’t have to risk their babies getting sick from other children in the clinic”, said Gutierrez. 

Overall, it’s important for women to take care of their health and nutrition while carrying their child. “Diabetes, high-blood pressure, smoking, drinking and doing drugs are all factors that increase the risk of an early delivery and premature birth”, said Gutierrez. 

The Pediatric Care Center supports local organizations and groups within the community for premature babies. Gutierrez mentions how the clinic often donates to the March of Dimes and participates in fundraising events to help spread awareness and inform the community on premature babies. 

“The care we offer for the parent and child is state of the art in terms of excellent care”, she said. “It’s given with a lot of compassion. All of our staff love these children and have a passion for helping them”, said Gutierrez. The Pediatric Care Center truly believes that it takes a village to raise a child and parents need the combined teamwork of the family and the child’s pediatric clinic. “We want our parents to trust us when it comes to helping raise their children and make them feel like we are also a part of their family”, she said. 

For more information on the Pediatric Care Center, visit their website at


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Pascagoula-Gautier School District Receives $25,000 Grant for Bilingual Library

Screen-Shot-2017-11-20-at-3.35.33-PM Pascagoula-Gautier School District Receives $25,000 Grant for Bilingual Library

Families in Jackson County now have the opportunity to become more bi-literate at the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center.

The Pascagoula-Gautier School District received a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood grant to develop a bilingual resource library in an effort to help children and parents in the community. According to State Farm, the program “helps worthwhile nonprofit organizations across the U.S., offering $25,000 grants for neighborhood projects involved in education, safety and community development.”

Kelli McCorkle, the director of the early beginnings program, said that while the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center also holds the Excel by 5 library, this is an opportunity for families to receive more support with bilingual needs.

“One of our main goals is bi-literacy,” McCorkle said. “We want parents to get involved with reading and use this support before their children enter school.”

McCorkle said that her time as a past school administrator made her aware of the challenges to those students who don’t speak English. She explained that a long-term goal of the library is to support graduation down the road.

“The resource library will help children prepare for kindergarten,” McCorkle said. “When children are more prepared starting at the pre-kindergarten level, you see increased graduation rates, an increase of those who own homes, and more.”

While many of the materials available at the library are in Spanish, McCorkle said there is a variety of materials in many languages, such as Vietnamese or American Sign Language. In addition, there are many different types of activities, including a listening center that incorporates new technologies.

The hours for the library vary. On Monday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., the library is open where students and parents can interact or checkout books, with hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. While only those in Pascagoula and Gautier will be able to checkout materials, anyone is welcome to come into the center and interact.

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Huntington Ingalls Authenticates Keel of Guided Missile Destroyer Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)

higbee_keel_3aa0c5e7-33e9-466d-969e-f550710dc806-prv Huntington Ingalls Authenticates Keel of Guided Missile Destroyer Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)

Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) today. The ship is named in honor of the first woman to receive the Navy Cross.

“It is always exciting to celebrate the keel authentication of another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said during a shipyard ceremony this morning. “The keel authentication is an important milestone in a ship’s life, as we lay the foundation upon which this great ship will be built. Like her namesake, DDG 123 will be strong and capable. Our men and women in the Navy—and Mrs. Higbee’s legacy—deserve nothing less.”

Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford and Pickett Wilson are the ship’s sponsors. The three women played an important role during former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ term as governor of Mississippi.

“We want to thank Ingalls Shipbuilding, its employees and its suppliers for the high standards of design and construction and the strong and important support they give their employees and the state of Mississippi,” Dixon said. “We are thrilled and look forward to seeing everyone again at a christening in the very near future.”

C.C. Tanner, a structural welder at Ingalls, welded the three sponsors’ initials onto a steel plate, signifying the keel of DDG 123 as being “truly and fairly laid.” The plate will remain affixed to the ship throughout its lifetime.

“Today marks the true start of this ship’s construction,” said Cmdr. Scott Williams, program manager representative for Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast. “With 29 Ingalls-built Arleigh Burke-class destroyers currently in active service and four of her sister ships also in production here at Ingalls, the mere continuity of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer over the past 25 years shows their importance to our naval forces. To the men and women of Huntington Ingalls Industries who will bring DDG 123 to life, thank you. Thank you to the shipfitters, pipefitters, electricians, welders, testers and engineers who will toil in this historic shipbuilding journey that will carry a pioneer’s name.”

DDG 123 will be the second ship named for Higbee. The first was a destroyer commissioned in 1945 and was the first U.S. Navy surface combatant named for a female member of the Navy. Higbee joined the Navy in October 1908 as part of the newly established Navy Nurse Corps, a group of women who would become known as “The Sacred Twenty,” and became the second superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in January 1911.

Ingalls has delivered 29 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the Navy. Other destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls include Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) and Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121).

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