A commemorative flag flies aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) after being unveiled during a remembrance ceremony, June 17. (U.S. Navy/Samantha Crane)

PASCAGOULA, Miss. - The crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) unveiled a commemorative flag, June 17, honoring the Sailors who died in a collision in the Sea of Japan two years ago.

Designed by current crewmembers, the flag memorializes their seven fallen shipmates. The flag is blue with “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” emblazoned above the names of the seven Sailors. The motto is a common Navy phrase, but all Fitzgerald Sailors embodied that spirit on June 17, 2017, when they fought significant flooding and structural damage following the collision.

The Fitzgerald crew held a solemn remembrance ceremony and raised the flag immediately after morning colors.

“I am proud of this flag and proud of our shipmates who helped design it, as it is a product of respect and professionalism that symbolizes their great service and sacrifice,” said Cmdr. Garrett Miller, Fitzgerald commanding officer, who unfurled the commemorative flag for the first time.

In addition, the national ensign and Union Jack were raised on the ship for the first time since November 2017.

“Fitzgerald’s crew designed this flag from scratch as a way to embody those shipmates we lost,” said Cmdr. Scott Wilbur, Fitzgerald’s executive officer. “It will be flown every year on 17 June to honor them and to never forget their sacrifice. The current crew continues to live out that motto while bringing the ship back to the fleet.”

On April 16, Fitzgerald took another step toward returning to the fleet. The ship launched and moored pierside at Huntington-Ingalls Industries – Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard.

Throughout this restoration period, the U.S. Navy has made it a priority to ensure Fitzgerald returns to a peak state of warfighting readiness to contribute to an agile and dynamic fleet.

Cmdr. Garrett Miller, commanding officer of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) speaks to the crew during the remembrance ceremony, June 17. (U.S. Navy/Samantha Crane)