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Hagerstown native to command aircraft carrier

November 08, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

A Hagerstown native will fulfill a dream this month when he takes command of one of the world's largest warships, the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman.

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Capt. David A. Logsdon, 46, will take over the ship in a formal change-of-command ceremony Nov. 19 in Norfolk, Va.

"I'm excited about it. I think it's a great opportunity," said Logsdon in a telephone conversation from his Virginia home Monday.

Logsdon said he has spent the past three weeks preparing to take command of the ship, his first aircraft carrier.

While it has been a dream during his Naval career, Logsdon said he never would have dreamed of such an opportunity as a kid, when he wanted to become a race car driver.

"It's right there at the top of the heap," he said.

The $4.5 billion carrier Logsdon will command is longer than three football fields and has two nuclear reactors on board that generate enough electricity for 250,000 homes. It has a crew of 3,200 people.

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"I am very proud of him. He's worked very, very hard," said his mother, Alma Bowers of Funkstown.

A 1971 graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Logsdon went to the University of South Carolina on an ROTC scholarship.

After getting his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Logsdon went to flight school at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.

He has logged more than 4,500 flight hours and more than 550 carrier landings.

He was aboard the USS Eisenhower when it was deployed to the Indian Ocean during the Iranian hostage crisis.

Logsdon later went to the Naval War College and got a master's degree in foreign affairs, strategic studies.

He has moved up through the ranks.

Most recently, he was the executive officer of a smaller aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, and commander of a supply ship, USS Arctic.

He lives in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Ris, and their children Jesse, 17, and Danielle, 16.

One of the benefits of the new command will be getting to stay in Virginia Beach, said Logsdon, who estimates his family has moved 12 to 15 times in the last 24 years.

He'll take the ship on its first six-month deployment around this time next year, he said.

Logsdon is undaunted by the prestigious post.

"My career has prepared me for this and I look forward to the challenge," he said.

Bowers said Logsdon has long wanted to command an aircraft carrier.

When he was a boy, Logsdon raced stock cars in the quarter-midget division at a track in Funkstown, she said.

"He always wanted to be on something that moves," Bowers said.

The second of five children, Logsdon might not have had the opportunity to go to college without the help of his military scholarship, she said.

Logsdon has many family members in the area including his father Robert Logsdon of Hagerstown, his sister Joanne Ballenger of Hagerstown, his brother Mark Logsdon of Maugansville and his sister Jane Logsdon of Boonsboro.

A number of family members and friends, including his sister Sharon Grant of Willow, Alaska, plan to attend the change-of-command ceremony.

The guest speaker will be U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

The USS Harry S Truman is one of eight aircraft carriers in the Nimitz class, which are the largest warships in the world. A ninth carrier in that class is under construction and will be named after former President Reagan.

Staff writer Kerry Lynn Fraley contributed to this story.

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