Texas A&M University At Galveston Dedicates The "General Rudder" Training Vessel

The legacy of one of Texas A&M's most beloved leaders is now making waves at Texas A&M at Galveston and beyond.

News 3 went us on board the new "General Rudder" vessel and discovered how it'll be a classroom at sea for students there.

It's a ship of new opportunities and exploring the high seas for students and staff at Texas A&M Galveston with the christening of their newest ocean going training vessel.

"They named the ship after General Rudder," said Rebecca Johnson, the student Corps Commander for the Texas Maritime Academy at the university.

"So were going out into the Gulf and were traveling through the fairways learning how to navigate around the rigs that are out there and learning how to communicate with other vessels as we pass. And then at the dock well just use it for maintenance during the school year," said Johnson.

The ceremony came on the anniversary of D-Day, when Rudder led his Rangers up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, Normandy.

Rudder's son Bud says it means a lot for his family.

"And dad's history and his works gets spread in many ways because his name's on this vessel. And it's a good thing," said Bud Rudder.

The "General Rudder" will be the classroom for 50 Sea Aggies this summer as they head out on a month cruise to Lake Charles, Louisiana, then Gulfport, Mississippi and back.

"They will learn a lot about how to not only operate a ship but also to repair a ship by working with a ship day in and day out here at the dock and also going out to sea every summer in it," said R. Bowen Loftin, Ph.D., Texas A&M University President.

The 32-year-old ship was originally commissioned as the U.S. Navy Ship "Contender."

This new incarnation was donated by the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration. Texas A&M at Galveston President Robert Smith III tells us it's a milestone to be proud of.

"It is also symbolic to name this ship the "General Rudder." Without General Rudder this academy and university would not be here," said Rear Admiral Robert Smith III, U.S. Navy (retired).

"It's very nice for us to have a training ship again so we can do our own cruises without having to go with other academies. So yes it's very nice," added Rebecca Johnson.

Studying the seas in way you just can't learn in a textbook or simulator.

The dedication also comes during the 50th anniversary for the Texas A&M at Galveston campus and is the first time in eight years they've had a deployable training vessel.

Go on board the "General Rudder" with News 3 Sunday night at 10.


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