USS Olympia makes Pacific Northwest namesake visit
BREMERTON, Wash. -The crew of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) concluded a visit to the Pacific Northwest, Jan. 30, following a series of engagements with key civic and community leaders as well as engaging with locally-based organizations.
The namesake visit provided an opportunity for the crew of Olympia to demonstrate the quality of naval personnel to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest, particularly the city of Olympia and surrounding areas.
Olympia arrived at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton Jan. 27, and was greeted on the pier by community leaders and supporters, including former Secretary of State Ralph Munro.
“We want to give you a very warm welcome,” said Munro. “I had the privilege of speaking at the commissioning of the boat many, many, many years ago before you all were born and it’s an honor and a pleasure to have the boat back here in our waters. I’m one proud American with this boat out there defending my liberty and defending all of us, so we can’t say thank you enough.”
Tours of the submarine were given to various groups to include the Sea Cadets, the Navy League, the Submarine League and government officials.
Over 60 crew members boarded buses in Bremerton and traveled to the city of Olympia, Jan. 28. During their visit, they performed community relations projects, toured the capital and surrounding attractions, and met with community members. A lunch was also held for the crew by the Olympia Yacht Club and the boat performed an awards ceremony in front of the large audience. Four Sailors were pinned with their submarine enlisted warfare “dolphins”, four Sailors were presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and the Sailor of the Quarter and Blue Jacket of the Quarter Sailors were announced.
“The opportunity for the crew to visit Olympia is somewhat rare and it is a true privilege to see the fantastic support that the city gives to her submarine and her crew,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Selph, commanding officer of Olympia, from Prescott, Arizona. “I think that it is important for the citizens of Olympia to see that the Navy is all about being not for self, but for country, and that the Sailors on Olympia are happy and willing to serve.”
Sailors helped the community by painting and organizing the Salvation Army transitional housing center, stuffing backpacks with the Gateway Rotary Club for the Homeless Backpacks non-profit organization, and making and handing out sandwiches at the Interfaith Works Winter Warming Center.
“I am glad that we were given the opportunity to come to Olympia and help out,” said Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 1st Class Brandon Brown, from Long View, Texas. “I like giving back to the community because it shows people another side to Navy Sailors.”
The final day of their visit, the crew enjoyed liberty in Bremerton. The Navy League and Submarine League hosted a dinner for the crew at a local restaurant called the Horse and Cow.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to support the weekend namesake city visit of the USS Olympia,” said retired Capt. Alan Beam, northwest coastal area president of the Navy League. “The city of Olympia and its citizens went out of their way to welcome the submarine and its Sailors and make them feel at home. This visit enabled the crew to see their city first hand. The link between the namesake city and the submarine is a vital source of crew identity and morale. I am glad everyone had a great time.”
USS Olympia is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after Olympia, Washington. Commissioned on Nov. 17, 1984, Olympia is the 29th ship of the Los Angeles-class nuclear powered fast-attack submarines. The submarine is 362-feet long, displaces 6,900 tons and can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.