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Navy to join in weekend celebrations

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HILO, Hawaii >> The Navy is coming aboard weekend celebrations at the 52nd annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.

The Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon, named for the Navy’s first Native Hawaiian admiral, will visit Hilo to pay its respects to the festival’s royal court, and the Pacific Fleet Band will march and perform in the Merrie Monarch Parade on Saturday. Capt. Mark Manfredi, chief of staff, Navy Region Hawaii, also will attend the festivities.

The Navy ship will greet the Merrie Monarch court during a pierside welcome ceremony at Hilo Harbor’s Pier 1 at 11 a.m. Friday. The Chung-Hoon’s 270 sailors and Cmdr. Ryan Collins, along with Manfredi, will attend the hula competition and participate in the parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Hilo.

The ship is named for Rear Adm. Gordon Pai‘ea Chung-Hoon, who was assigned to the USS Arizona the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. He received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of the USS Sigsbee after a kamikaze attack killed 23 members of his crew and severely damaged the ship off Okinawa on April 14, 1945.

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