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Much Ado About Mustin

It’s the height of summer. While the minds of most San Diegans are on the sand, surf and sun, a ceremony taking place this month will focus attention on the city’s rich military heritage. The U.S.S. Mustin, one of the Navy’s newest ships, is being formally commissioned at the Naval Air Station on North Island on July 26—one day before the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

The Mustin, an Arleigh Burke–class guided-missile destroyer, is named in honor of four members of the Mustin family, a San Diego dynasty whose collective span of distinguished Navy service stretches 100 years. Captain Henry C. Mustin (1874-1923), an 1896 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. He earned a commendation for distinguished service in the capture of Vigan, in the Philippines, in 1899. He also flew the first aircraft ever catapulted from a ship and the first operational missions of naval aircraft during the 1914 Veracruz operation. After his death, a destroyer was named after him. The original Mustin (1939-1946) earned 13 battle stars for World War II service, including the battles of Santa Cruz and Guadalcanal.

Vice Admiral Lloyd Mustin (1911-1999), Henry’s son, was a 1932 Naval Academy graduate who served on the cruiser U.S.S. Atlanta during the famed World War II naval battle of Guadalcanal. His two sons have continued the family’s legacy: Retired Navy Vice Admiral Henry C. Mustin, a 1955 academy grad, is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who served as the naval inspector general, commander of the Second Fleet and deputy chief of naval operations for plans and policy. Lieutenant Commander Thomas M. Mustin (academy class of ’62) earned a Bronze Star during the Vietnam War for river patrol combat action. Both graduated from Coronado High School.

Commissioning chairman Jim Fitzpatrick (publisher of San Diego Magazine) says the Mustin family “illustrates the contributions of many San Diegans to America and to the freedom we enjoy, because they have done so much.” The commissioning ceremony is sponsored by the San Diego Council of the Navy League. Festivities begin July 25, with a commanding officer’s reception at the U.S. Grant Hotel.

More on the Mustin

San Diego Insider (Channel 4 San Diego, on Cox Cable) is producing a half-hour special on the commissioning. The show, scheduled to air August 6, includes a look at the Mustin family; a profile of Commander Ann Phillips, the Mustin’s commanding officer; a segment on the rich history of the Navy in San Diego; and a recap of the actual commissioning ceremony.

“San Diego really started out as a Navy town, and it’s still a really big deal when a ship is commissioned here and calls San Diego its home port,” says Jeanne Rawdin, the show’s executive producer. “So we want to take a look back and also a look forward at what direction the Navy is going here in San Diego.”

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