Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Reardon: City Can Be Proud of USS Oklahoma City

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Reardon: City Can Be Proud of USS Oklahoma City

Article excerpt

The USS Oklahoma City, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, is a ship Oklahoma City can be proud of, and the city is one which the crew of the ship is proud to represent, Cmdr. Kevin J. Reardon, commanding officer of the ship, said during a visit to Oklahoma City this week.

In previous visits to the city, Reardon related how a special bond has been developing between the citizens of Oklahoma City and the crew of the ship, which was launched Nov. 2, 1985, placed in active duty during December 1987 and tentatively scheduled for commissioning May 21. Norfolk, Va., will be the home port for the sub.

During his visit this week, Reardon said the USS Oklahoma City has done an exceptional job in sea trials, which are nearly finished.

"It operates beautifully," he said. "It's a fine ship. It's a pleasure to see a ship that we've been working with for so long being put to the test."

During sea trials, the sub's propulsion plant is fully tested above and below water and the ship's mechanical and electronic operations are pushed to the limit. The sub's maximum speed, Reardon said, is in excess of 20 knots (more than 20 miles per hour), although its exact full speed is classified.

"It performed exceptionally well and has been ahead of schedule (on its sea trials)," Reardon said.

The USS Oklahoma City is one of 37 Los Angeles-class subs, all but one of which are named after cities. The naming of a ship after a city is an exclusive honor, Reardon said.

The submarine is not the first ship to bear the city's name, nor is this the first time Oklahomans have expressed their overwhelming support for the Navy.

A cruiser during World War II was named the Oklahoma City and was used during the Korean War, 1960s and 1970s before being mothballed and later dismantled.

During World War II, Reardon said, the people of Oklahoma, in a single day, bought enough war bonds to pay for the cost of constructing and outfitting the cruiser.

"We have learned over the past year that there's a deep Navy commitment in Oklahoma City," he said.

Nearly all of the crew members of the ship have visited Oklahoma City during the past year, and all of them go back to the ship telling what a great time they had in the city, Reardon said.

About 15 crew members accompanied Reardon on his visit to Oklahoma City this week, about 10 of whom had visited the city at least once previously.

The crew members' visits to schools have been particularly rewarding.

"They (school children) know there is a sub named `Oklahoma City.' To see that kind of enthusiasm with the children really boosts the crew's morale," Reardon said. "They know it's not just a steel hull they're working in."

Local civic leaders especially have become involved with the ship, and an Oklahoma City Navy has been formed to support the ship and the Navy.

A reception to enlist members into the Oklahoma City Navy was held Tuesday at the Kirkpatrick Center. Special ranks and privileges are bestowed on those who join by contributing to the Oklahoma City Navy. …

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