Bell from Navy ship unveiled in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bell from Navy ship unveiled in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The U.S.S. Dubuque served in the Navy's fleet for nearly 44 years.  It was first commissioned in 1967 and decommissioned in 2011 at a ceremony in San Diego.

It's the second ship to bear the name of Iowa's Key City.  And now, part of that ship will live on in the city it was named for.

Thanks to a combined effort between the City of Dubuque and the Navy League's Dubuque Council, the bell from that ship is now on display in Dubuque's Historic Federal Building.  It's been loaned from the Navy.

"We're so proud obviously that it's our name that's part of one of the US Navy ships and it's proud history that it had," said Marie Ware, leisure services manager for Dubuque.

She spearheaded the effort to get it here shortly after it was decommissioned.

"This is a great place for it, because otherwise it would just be put away somewhere in the U.S. Navy's archives," Ware said.

Glen Gassman, president of the Navy League Dubuque Council is also proud of her history.

"She did 12 major deployments, from Vietnam all the way to the war on terrorism," he said. "She served 44 years, which is pretty unheard of. That's quite a long time for a ship to be at sea and take all that abuse."

And even though the nearest ocean is nearly 1,000 miles away, it's quite meaningful to many in this area.

"To have something that close and that intimate, that intimate piece of the Navy here, is great for sailors, coast guardsmen, merchant marines, Marines," he said.

The bell is displayed on the second floor of the Historic Federal Building outside the city council chambers.  It's displayed among a number of other informational pieces about the ship, including the last flag ever flown.  That was given to Mayor Roy Buol at the decommissioning ceremony in 2011.

Ware says the Navy didn't give her a timetable for when they want it back.

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