The village of Cooperstown will be part of a special homecoming this month, when Navy Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall visits May 28.
“It is kind of fun,” Boxall said Thursday in a phone interview from the Pentagon. “I figure I have been in the Navy for 34 years ... I have never really been back upstate to speak.”
Boxall, who has been confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee for a May 31 promotion to vice admiral, is a native of Holland Patent and a graduate of Holland Patent High School, where he will also visit on his trip.
“When they said we would have the opportunity to come up and speak to Cooperstown, I wanted to make sure it was me,” he said.
Boxall said Cooperstown is a special place to him. He said he grew up a big baseball fan, and became a New York Mets fan during the 1969 Miracle Mets run. He played high school and American Legion games in Cooperstown as a kid, and visited not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to recharge his spirit, he said.
“I wanted to go someplace that made me feel great about being an American,” he said.
As the official in charge of Navy equipment, Boxall said he was thrilled for the scheduled commissioning of the USS Cooperstown in 2021.*
“I own all the Navy ships ... so I was very excited about it,” he said.
The USS Cooperstown had its keel laid down last summer, during a ceremony that included Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh. The ship, which is being built by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine, is part of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship fleet.
“We’re very excited about that class of ships,” Boxall said.
Boxall’s excursion to the area is part of the Navy’s Executive Engagement Visits program, which does outreach, in particular to areas of the country which do not normally have a Navy presence.
“There’s no ocean near Cooperstown,” he said, so, “we want to be sure we explain what we do to people in parts of the country that do not normally see (Navy members).”
According to his Navy biography, Boxall went to Penn State, where he was a science major. He was commissioned in the Navy in 1984 and earned advanced degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he earned a Master of Science in Information Systems, and the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.
His current job is director of surface warfare in the Pentagon.
Boxall said his new job will move him to the “e-ring” of the Pentagon, where he will be the director of the J-8 for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His duties will include budgeting resources and strategic planning and purchasing.
As part of his Cooperstown visit, Boxall will meet with Tillapaugh, speak to the Rotary Club of Cooperstown and tour the National Baseball Hall of Fame. While upstate, he will also attend Memorial Day services in his hometown, and speak to students at his alma mater.
*Updated at 10:50 a.m. May 24, 2019, to correct the timing of the commissioning.