Yesterday, January 5th a married couple came in along with several other people and visited for awhile and when I opened this morning that same couple returned, commenting that they were so pleased with the exhibit and some of the U.S. navy items on display that they wanted to present the museum with a small token of appreciation. As it turned out the man I was speaking with was CDR. John Rummel, the commanding officer of the DDG-63 USS Stethem, a 505 ft Arleigh Class Destroyer home based in San Diego.
She is named for Navy Seabee Diver Robert Dean Stethem, who was killed by Hezbollah terrorists when they attacked TWA flight 847 in Beirut June 15th 1985. To honor Stethem, the ship was laid up in May 1993 and commissioned in October 1995. She is a sleek battleship, crewed by the nation’s finest and is a key component of the U.S. Pacific fleet.
Robert Stethem is laid to rest at the Arlington National cemetery in Virginia. Commander Rummel was so touched by the diving history exhibit that he returned to hand deliver a commemorative ship’s challenge medallion. It will be an honor to find a place for it to call home here in the Casino building. Thank you sir, much appreciated, to you, Robert Stethem and all military personnel,.. thank you for your service and sacrifices.