David Savoie talks ‘Tiger Cruise’ with Rotarians

The Rotary Club of Crowley was able to learn about David Savoie, center, and his family’s “Tiger Cruise” where they learned about daily operations aboard a U.S. Navy ship. Thanking him for the presentation were President Scott Shumacher, left, and Secretary M’Elise Trahan.
Rotarian Clay Lejeune, left, presented Dr. Chad Vincent the Rotary Club of Crowley’s Vocational Award at Tuesday’s meeting. Vincent was appreciative to the club as well as the community for its continued support.
Crowley Rotarian Gene Williams and new member Tracy Young, center, look on as President Scott Shumacher, right, inducts and welcomes Young to the Rotary Club of Crowley’s membership at Tuesday’s meeting.
Local Rotarian reflects on time spent on USS Truxtun with daughter as navigator of destroyer

About one-and-a-half years ago Rotarian David Savoie had the opportunity to learn what his daughter Lacey Savoie does everyday as part of the U.S. Navy.

While Lacey Savoie was a lieutenant, her family was given the chance to experience life aboard the USS Truxtun, where she was serving as navigator of the ship and helped coordinate the Tiger Cruise.

A Tiger Cruise is the chance for family and friends to see up close what the U.S. Navy does on a day-to-day basis. Everyone that is a part of the trip is called a “tiger,” which is any relative or friend (but not girlfriend/boyfriend, fiancée or spouse) of a crew member or embarked personnel.

The Savoies joined their daughter in Mayport, Fla., to begin their three-day journey that would end in Norfolk, Va. They were among 30 tigers to board the USS Truxtun, which was part of a fleet returning from a tour in the Persian Gulf while it was supporting the USS George H. Bush.

The USS George H. Bush also took part in a Tiger Cruise at the same time, according to David Savoie, with that ship having had 800 tigers aboard.

The USS Truxtun, according to David Savoie, is the sixth ship to be named after Commodore Thomas Truxtun. The USS Truxtun (DDG 103) is a part of The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers. The Arleigh Burke class ships are the U.S. Navy’s only active destroyers and are among the largest and most powerful destroyers ever built, both larger and more heavily armed than many previous cruisers. He also explained that the average age of the crew was 22 when he was aboard.

As part of her navigator duties, Lacey Savoie was in charge of charting all courses on paper. As David Savoie pointed out,  the lone navigator keeping track of the ship’s course is important, not only to stay out of shallow water, but to be wary of the territories the ship is moving in and around.

As he was sharing photos and stories from the trip, David Savoie explained that the bridge and deck areas were his favorite part, joking that if he didn’t spend 90 percent of his time aboard in one of those two areas, he didn’t spend anytime there.

He also shared a poignant photo of a dinner place setting for those missing in action or prisoners of war that is always set, not only aboard the USS Truxtun, but aboard every ship.

Once out in the Atlantic Ocean, the Savoies and other tigers aboard got to really experience life on the ship as the ship remained fully functioning, complete with armed guards and exercises such as gun-testing and refueling at sea.

The trip also was a chance for many to reunite with family after their tours overseas and when they made their way to dock at Norfolk, several of the seamen were returning with the chance to meet their sons and/or daughters for the first time.

“To me that was the best part of the trip, seeing that,” said David Savoie.

“All in all, it was a good trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

He wrapped up his presentation by expressing how great the trip was and how much it served as a tribute to the great work young men and women are doing in the U.S. Navy and the military.

Earlier in the meeting, the Rotary Club of Crowley welcomed Tracy Young to the club and presented its vocational award to Dr. Chad Vincent. Vincent was honored by the award, thanking Rotary for the award as well as the people of Crowley.