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North Fort Myers native serving aboard future Navy warship

July 19, 2019
By Logistics Specialist 1st Class Courtney Mitchell - Navy Office of Community Outreach , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A 2012 Temple Christian High School graduate and North Fort Myers native is serving aboard the future USS Paul Ignatius, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer homeported in Mayport, Fla.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dale B. Crawford is a cryptologic technician responsible for providing in depth analysis on complex digital communications signals. Through computer technology, he provides critical intelligence information, such as the location and information of various targets.

"I enjoy watching the result of my hard work help those who are deployed down range to complete time-sensitive missions," Crawford said.

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Petty Officer 2nd Class Dale B. Crawford.

Paul Ignatius is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer that provides a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the U.S. Navy's most powerful destroyer fleet. These highly-capable, multi-mission ships conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence to national security. Ships like Paul Ignatius operate forward in every ocean of the world to keep our nation secure by meeting threats abroad before they can do harm here at home.

Crawford has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

"Growing up in North Fort Myers, I learned to obtain all the knowledge I possibly can, while letting no opportunities pass me by," said Crawford.

The Surface Force is focused on providing lethal, ready, well-trained and logistically supported surface forces to fight today and in the future. The professional men and women serving aboard USS Paul Ignatius are some of the nation's best and brightest, and are typical of the talented sailors on duty in the Navy around the world today.

"The crew's performance has been absolutely remarkable, rising to the occasion and answering the call every time," said Cmdr. Robby Trotter, Ignatius' first commanding officer. "The many inspections and challenges we faced and overcame as a crew has prepared us to bring this ship to life and join the world's finest Navy."

Crawford has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

"My grandfather served in the Coast Guard and the Navy as a SeaBee, my uncle currently serves in the Coast Guard, another uncle retired from the Marine Corps and my brother currently serves in the Navy as a master-at-arms," said Crawford.

Crawford said his proudest accomplishment was assisting law enforcement agencies in the capture and termination of multiple high value targets in both Central and South America during various counter cartel operations.

"I was able to appreciate how my efforts directly affected major events world-wide," Crawford said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy's high-tech and lethal surface combatant ships, Crawford and other Paul Ignatius sailors are proud to be part of a warfighting team.

"The Navy displays America's combat power and strength worldwide and can be anywhere within a moment's notice," said Crawford. "However, the Navy also shows America's compassion and humanity by helping those in need. Whether it is helping folks here in the U.S., other deployed service members, or those facing hardships in foreign countries. Serving in the Navy means that I'm here to do not only what our country needs, but what those around the world need, too."

Paul Ignatius is the 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the 31st DDG 51 class destroyer built by Huntington Ingalls Industries. It is the first warship named for Paul Ignatius who served as United States Secretary of the Navy under President Lyndon Johnson from 1967 to 1969. Ignatius had previously served with honor as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy during World War II.

The warship will be officially placed into active service at a July 27 commissioning ceremony in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The ceremony includes "bringing the ship to life" and other orders rooted in centuries old naval tradition.

For additional information about the commissioning ceremony, visit



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