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Daily Herald - Guided-Missile Destroyer Replica Commissioned at Great Lakes

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Daily Herald - Guided-Missile Destroyer Replica Commissioned at Great Lakes

BY Bob Susnjara

Some call the newly commissioned USS Trayer the unluckiest ship in the Navy, but it's expected to produce a new generation of sailors who are more battle-ready and prepared to save lives.

It'll never sail, but the 210-foot-long replica of a guided-missile destroyer was formally commissioned this morning at Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago. The ship simulator is part of Battle Stations 21, a grueling overnight event designed to prepare recruits for any scenario before they are sailors.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk and Adm. Patrick Walsh, vice chief of naval operations, were among the speakers at a commissioning ceremony, which featured the USS Trayer decked out in red, white and blue bunting.

Walsh touched on how sailors will be more prepared then ever to save lives through their training on the high-tech simulator that includes drills on mass casualties, firefighting and flooding in ammunition storage space.

Kirk said the Battle Stations 21 mock destroyer will be the Navy's unluckiest ship because of all the simulated disasters.

"We're a thousand miles from salt water, but the United States Navy is born here," Kirk told about 200 spectators at Great Lakes.

Great Lakes is the Navy's only boot camp. Recruits become sailors after passing Battle Stations 21, the final leg of their training.

Read more on the commissioning ceremony in Tuesday's Daily Herald.

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