Postponed christening of BIW-built Zumwalt means Oregon veteran who served with warship’s namesake may get to attend

By Stuart Tomlinson, The Oregonian
Posted Oct. 12, 2013, at 6:04 a.m.

Fredric Alan Maxwell, a 59-year-old Navy veteran who served on Admiral Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr.’s staff in the 1970s, may get to attend the christening of the first Zumwalt class guided missile destroyer after all.

Maxwell, a Northeast Portland, Ore., author whose veteran disability checks may stop coming Nov. 1 due to the government shutdown, learned late Thursday that the christening of the USS Zumwalt scheduled for Oct. 19 at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, has been postponed. The reason, naturally, is the government shutdown.

“Maybe I’ll get to attend the christening after all,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell receives a $1,038 monthly disability check from the Department of Veterans Affairs due to a heart ailment and was unable to come up with enough money to pay for ticket to the christening.

Whether he goes or not, he still plans to donate his signed photograph of Admiral Zumwalt to the ship. It will be used as part of a “sailor of the month” award aboard ship when it is launched later this year.

Maxwell served as the quartermaster on Zumwalt’s Chief of Naval Operations Barge for two years. It was Maxwell’s job to navigate the barge — a 63.5- foot yacht — along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in Washington, D.C.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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