About the Sub Club

The Thoroughbred Sub Club is a program of the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. Louisville Base to establish an inclusive, independent support organization for Kentucky’s namesake submarines, USS Louisville (SSN 724) and USS Kentucky (SSBN 737).

The roots of the Thoroughbred Sub Club began with the late Rodney Williams, Jr. Executive Director of the University of Louisville Alumni Association, Rodney was the commissioning committee coordinator for USS Louisville, USS Kentucky, USS Ashland (LSD 48), and chaired one of the USS Higgins (DDG 76) commissioning committees. Until his passing in 2003, Rodney ran the namesake program out of his office at U of L.

By 1995, Rodney was losing his eyesight to diabetic retinopathy, and enlisted Philip Setters to assist him in coordinating the namesake program. Rodney’s last words to Philip were to elicit Philip’s promise that he would not let the relationships between the two namesake submarines and the Commonwealth of Kentucky die.

Shortly after Rodney’s funeral, retired Navy Capt. Frank Stewart, a former USS Louisville commanding officer, and Philip met at Hillerich & Bradsby and developed a plan to move forward. From that meeting, a group of people from Ashland to Hodgenville came together to form a support network for the boats, consisting of submarine veterans, submarine parents, teachers, other Navy veterans, reservists, teachers, and people from the community who just wanted to get involved.

Originally just calling itself “The Ships Committee,” former USS Louisville commanding officer Capt. Michael Jabaley suggested the name Thoroughbred Sub Club in 2006. In May 2008, The Ships Committee became Thoroughbred Sub Club, and sought to become a SubVets program.

Thoroughbred Sub Club is a liaison for the Kentucky namesake submarines and the communities they represent. We coordinate visits to the area for all three representative crews, working closely with state and local governments, schools, business and civic leaders, and the military community. If you would like to learn more about what we do, please explore this site, or send us some questions.

This site is not affiliated with the Department of Defense.