during the early part of my tenure on board the ship, I painted the
USS LaVallette (DD448) from a dock in San
Diego. I painted in the surrounding ocean after heading out to sea.
Reproductions were made for the crew. One reproduction now hangs in
La Vallette, New Jersey; another in the Naval War College in Newport,
Rhode Island; and a third will soon to be on display at the USS Hornet
Museum in Alameda, California.
Both the town of La Vallette and the WWII combat ship were named after
Rear Admiral Elie La Vallette, who took command of the historic U.S.S.
Constitution in 1825.
The original painting of the USS LaVallette was featured in
special exhibits at the Charlestown Navy Yard Museum in 1983 and 1985,
where the USS Constitution is now berthed
and open to the public as a museum.
Ironically, the U.S.S. La Vallette’s
WWll sister ship, USS Cassin Young (DD-793),
is also a floating museum and historic landmark berthed at the Charlestown
Navy Yard, next to the USS Constitution. I was commissioned
to create illustrations depicting men working and living on board the
Cassin Young during WWll. My pictorial reenactments have been
transferred to metal plaques and strategically placed throughout the
Cassin Young Museum for visitors to reference.
The USS LaVallette, part of DesRon 21 (Destroyer Squadron 21),
is one of the 12 most battle tested ships in United States naval history.
It survived a torpedo in the Battle of Russell Island,
a mine during the taking of Corregidor, and it was
awarded 10 Battle Stars for service in the Pacific during World War
ll. At the end of the war, the USS LaVallette was decommissioned
and put into "moth balls".
Years later, the ship was sold to the Peruvian government. The original
ship's bell was recently installed on the quarterdeck of the USS Hornet
Museum, in California, and is used for ceremonies honoring veterans
and Naval history.
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