TICONDEROGA The USS Ticonderoga could once again see service in defense of the nation. The USS Ticonderoga Veterans Association has asked the Secretary of the Navy to name a new ship for the site of Americas first victory in the Revolutionary War. There have been five ships to bear the name Ticonderoga, but none since the USS Ticonderoga was decommissioned Sept. 30, 2004. The Navy is about to commission the final ship in the AEGIS class, which presents a unique opportunity, according to the veterans group. The first ship of the class was the USS Ticonderoga, they note, so it would be fitting to name the final one the same. This opportunity will probably never be available again. As a TICONDEROGA sailor I am deeply desirous of seeing another ship carry that name and to be the first and last of the 89 AEGIS ships would be doubly rewarding, the association has written to Navy Secretary Donald Winter. The new ship is being constructed at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. The USS Ticonderoga Veterans Association has asked the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce and others to support its bid to name the new ship the USS Ticonderoga. The group has asked people to write letters to the Navy and elected representatives urging use of the name. Information on the letter campaign can be found at the USS Ticonderoga Veterans Association website at ww.bigt.net The USS Ticonderoga was the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of Ticonderoga. An Aegis class guided missile cruiser, the USS Ti was commissioned in 1983 by then-First Lady Nancy Reagan. It served in Operation Desert Storm. A delegation from Ticonderoga attended the ships christening and another group represented the community in 1998 when the USS Ti was selected as the lead ship for Fleet Week in New York City. The USS Ticonderoga carried a crew of nearly 400 sailors, was 567 feet long and displaced 10,200 tons. Its motto was First and Formidable. The first USS Ticonderoga was a merchant steamer built in 1814 and purchased by the U.S. Navy later that year after being converted to a schooner. It saw combat during the War of 1812 on Lake Champlain and is now on display in Whitehall. The second USS Ticonderoga was a sloop launched in 1862. It saw action in the Civil War and was decommissioned in 1877. The next year it was recommissioned and set off on a two-year mission around the world seeking to create and expand U.S. trade. It was decommissioned permanently in 1887. A seized German steamer became the third USS Ticonderoga in 1918. A cargo ship, it was sunk by a German U-boat after a fierce two-hour battle on Sept. 30, 1918. Of the ships 237 sailors, only 24 survived. The fourth USS Ticonderoga became known as The Big T. An aircraft carrier, it was commissioned in 1944 and went immediately to the Battle of the Philippines. Jan. 22, 1945, it was hit by two Japanese kamikaze planes, ripping a hole in its flight deck and killing more than 100 sailors, including Capt. Dixie Kiefer. After repairs it returned to combat and was next to the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay Sept. 6, 1945, for the formal surrender of Japan ending World War II. The ship became so well-known during World War II a song, Ticonderoga, was written and recorded in 1944. It was dedicated to Kiefer. It was decommissioned in 1947, but brought back into action in 1952 and served during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It did three combat tours in Vietnam. Before being decommissioned for good in 1973, The Big T received 15 battle stars, three Navy Unit Commendations and a Meritorious Unit Commendation.