Century old Ship's bell rededicated for NY Naval Militia ceremonial use today, Feb. 25
LATHAM, NY (02/25/2020) (readMedia)-- A bell which once signaled the time on a U.S. Navy destroyer which New York Naval Militia members trained on in the 1920s, will be rededicated this afternoon-100 years after the ship it was built for was commissioned-- at New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs headquarters.
The refurbished bell will be placed in the headquarters building entryway where it will be used for New York Naval Militia ceremonies.
Members of the press are invited to cover this short ceremony.
WHO: Members of the New York Naval Militia, Major General Timothy LaBarge, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, and Rear Admiral Warren Smith, the commander of the Naval Militia
WHAT: Rededication of a ships bell which will be used for ceremonial purposes by members of the New York Naval Militia. The ceremony will include ringing the bell to make "4 Bells" 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
WHERE: New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters, 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham, NY
Reporters can capture video and still images of the bell being rung and interview members of the New York Naval Militia, including Rear Admiral Warren Smith, the commander of the Naval Militia, and Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York.
The 40- pound ships bell was mounted on the destroyer USS Flusser (DD-289) which was built in 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding in Squantum, Massachusetts and commissioned on February 25, 1920.
Since the 15th century bells aboard ships were used to signal the time of day so that sailors knew when to go on duty. They were also used to indicate the ships location in a fog and are rung to mark the moment when a captain or high ranking officer boards or leaves a ship.
The Flusser was armed with torpedoes and 4.5 inch guns. The ship was 314 feet long, had a crew of 114 men, and a speed of 35 knots. It was the third ship to bear that name.
The ship's namesake was a Civil War naval officer, Lieutenant Commander Charles W. Flusser, who was killed in action on April 19, 1864 when his ship, the U.S.S. Miami was in combat with the Confederate vessel Albemarle near Plymouth, North Carolina.
The Flusser served with the Atlantic fleet. In 1925 the Flusser was assigned to U.S. Navy forces in Europe and toured 15 countries before returning to the United States and homeporting in Newport, Rhode Island.
At Newport the Flusser was used to develop destroyer tactics and also served as a training ship for reservists, including members of the New York Naval Militia.
In 1930 the ship was decommissioned and then scrapped in order to comply with an international treaty limiting naval armaments.
Somehow the bell of the Flusser made its way to New York.The bell wound up in the New York State Armory in Oswego, New York, probably because at one time there was a Naval Militia unit located there. When the Oswego Armory closed the bell was transferred to the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga.
With the Naval Militia searching for a bell for its ceremonies, the museum agreed to loan the bell of the Flusser.
The bell has been cleaned and polished and mounted in a black walnut frame.
The New York Naval Militia
The New York Naval Militia, a component of the New York Military Forces, is composed of 2,800 current and former Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard members who agree to serve on state active duty when called by the state of New York. They put the skills they've honed in federal military service to work for New York.
The Naval Militia traces its history back to 1889 when a Provisional Naval Battalion was organized. That unit was formally mustered into State service as the First Battalion, Naval Reserve Artillery, on 23 June 1891. One year later the New York Naval Militia was called to active duty to protect steam ship passengers during the 1892 cholera quarantine at Fire Island.
Naval Militia members served in the Spanish American War and the conflicts since.
Naval Militia members responded to Hurricane Irene in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Buffalo snowstorm in 2014, and Lake Ontario flooding in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The New York Naval Militia also operates a fleet of ten patrol boats which can assist law enforcement and the Coast Guard in New York's waters. These boats include a landing craft- style boat which can be used to deliver troops and supplies to waterfront locations.