LOUISVILLE, KY – Crew members from USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) and USS Louisville (SSN 724) will be conducting separate namesake visits to the Louisville-area during mid-April. In what officials describe as a rare occurrence, the sailors from both submarines will make several joint appearances at Thunder Over Louisville on Saturday, April 16.

“I’ve been coordinating namesake visits for both boats since 1995,” said Philip Setters from the Thoroughbred Sub Club. “This is the first time I have been aware of two boats conducting simultaneous visits in our area, and I haven’t found anyone that can recall it happening anywhere else, either. I am glad it is happening at Thunder Over Louisville, which has previously included participation from both submarines.”

“Our crews really never cross paths, except in passing on the seas. It’s a great opportunity for us to have a chance to meet one another in Louisville, Ky, our mutual namesakes,” added USS Louisville’s Lt.j.g. Arthur Richardson.

On Saturday, the sailors will attend Thunder together. Starting with a visit to the Navy’s recruiting booth on the Great Lawn, they will then tour several private parties. Finally, they will spend time with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, and Medal of Honor recipients Herschel Woodrow “Woody” Williams and Don J. Jenkins.

USS Louisville will send five sailors to visit the city April 13-17. In addition to  Richardson, Machinist Mate 1st Class (SS) Seth Nickel, and three junior sailors will visit with local businesses, schools, veterans, and firefighters among others. Highlights include tours of Hillerich & Bradsby’s Louisville Slugger Museum, Texas Roadhouse corporate headquarters, and Thunder Command Center; lunch with Navy JROTC cadets at Shawnee High School; and morale calls to Louisville Home of the Innocents, Kosair Children’s Hospital, and Robley Rex VA Medical Center. They will also have dinner with submarine veterans on Wednesday and the Jeffersontown Fire Department on Thursday.

“There is a natural bond between submariners and firefighters,” said Setters. “Fire is the number one threat to survival onboard a submarine, and I am very proud of the support the boats receive from Jeffersontown Fire Department and, especially, Louisville Division of Fire.”

On Friday, six sailors from USS Kentucky’s Blue Crew will begin arriving in Louisville, before departing Monday to visit other parts of the state and Ohio. Weapons Officer Lt. Cory Hudson will be joined by Lt.j.g Erik Chamberlain, Senior Chief Machinist Mate (SS) Jeremy Shaw, Machinist Mate 2nd Class (SS) Jesse Cobb, Machinist Mate 2nd Class (SS) Wes Dishman, and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class (SS) Gilbert Lara. In addition to their own visits to Hillerich & Bradsby and CEPEDA Associates on Monday, these sailors will have an opportunity to attend the Louisville Bats’ game against the Indianapolis Indians on Sunday. Other stops before Monday’s departure include University of Louisville and McConnell Technology & Training Center.

Cobb, Dishman, and Lara will then proceed to Worthington, Ky to spend some time with students. USS Kentucky sailors have maintained an unofficial Adopt-A-School relationship with Worthington Elementary School for over twenty years, including constructing a playground pavilion and gazebo as well as wiring the school for the Internet.

Hudson, Chamberlain, and Shaw will travel to Ohio. After attending a Reds game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday evening, they will meet with midshipmen from the NROTC unit at Miami University in Oxford. On Wednesday, they will return to Kentucky, so that Shaw can be re-enlisted in the Navy by the Adjutant General of Kentucky Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini at the Capitol in Frankfort.

“All the guys are really excited to come out. It gives us a chance to show the people of Louisville and Kentucky how much we appreciate their support and the opportunity to learn about the wonderful city our boat is named after,” said Richardson.

USS Louisville, whose motto is “Best of the Breed,” is a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine homeported in Pearl Harbor. She made history in Operation Desert Storm when she fired the first submarine-launched Tomahawk in combat on January 19, 1991, and subsequently completed the first war patrol by an American submarine since World War II. Her crew is affectionately referred to as “Sluggers.”

USS Kentucky, known as the “Thoroughbred of the Fleet,” is homeported in Bangor, Wa. An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, she has two crews, Blue and Gold. Armed with up to twenty-four Trident II missiles, she plays a critical role in the United States’ strategic deterrence efforts.

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