USS Boxer anniversary celebration
USS Boxer’s crew gathers in the hangar bay for the ship’s 25th anniversary celebration. Navy photo

The crew of the San Diego-based USS Boxer marked the amphibious assault ship’s 25th anniversary with a ceremony in the vessel’s giant hangar bay at Naval Base San Diego.

“Boxer has a long and storied history dating back to the war of 1812,” said Capt. Dale Heinken, the commanding officer, during the celebration on Tuesday. “Today we’re celebrating a quarter-century of service and success.”

The name entered U.S. Navy history when the British HMS Boxer was captured by USS Enterprise off the coast of Maine during the war of 1812.

The current warship is the sixth to bear the name. Its keel was laid on April 8, 1991, in Pascagoula, MS. The ship was launched Aug. 13, 1993, and commissioned Feb. 11, 1995.

In 2009, the Boxer played a key role in the rescue of the captain of MV Maersk Alabama, who was held hostage by Somali pirates. The ship recently completed a 7-month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The  Boxer is one of eight Wasp-class assault ships, which are often described as small aircraft carriers. The celebration included a cake cutting inside the hangar, which can hold up to 40 helicopters, Osprey tiltrotors and Lightning II jet fighters when the warship is on deployment.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.