USS Key West Commanding Officer, Crewmembers Visit Nameshake City

USS Key West Commanding Officer, Crewmembers Visit Nameshake City

The commanding officer and five crewmembers of the submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) are paying a visit to the ship’s namesake city Nov. 9-13.

Key West Commanding Officer Cmdr. Curtis Duncan and select members of his crew are in Key West so that the crew can become more familiar with the city for which their ship is named.

Sailors spent Nov. 10 speaking at Key West High School, Sigsbee Charter School, Horace O’Bryant Middle School and the crew met with community groups the Military Affairs Committee (MAC) and the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club.

On Veterans Day, the Key West crew met with the Friends of Mallory at Key West’s historic Mallory Square where the group unveiled the newest addition to the Key West – Florida Keys Military Memorial – a plaque dedicated to the three Navy ships named after the southernmost city in the continental U.S.

Sailors will also participate in Key West’s Veterans Day Parade, riding a float that is an exact replica of their submarine.

Key West MAC President Ron Demes coordinated the namesake visit, and he and MAC members built the float for the parade to provide the crew with a special welcome to Key West.

“We couldn’t think of a better way for the crew of Key West to connect with the city than to do it on Veterans Day during the parade,” said Demes. “So we wanted to do it in style, that’s why we replicated the sub for the parade. One of the MAC’s main goals is to continue to strengthen the relationship between the ship’s crew and the city of Key West.”

Throughout the years, the MAC stays in contact with USS Key West and does many things to support the crew, such as sending Key West memorabilia and sponsoring the uniforms for their command soccer team.

Electronics Technician (SS) 2nd Class Terrance Fields sized up the float the day before the parade and said he was awestruck by the community support for the ship and its crew.

“It is amazing the amount of love and respect Key West has not just for our ship, but the Navy in general,” said Fields. “We have been enjoying our visit and have met so many friendly people.”

The crew of Key West will also perform a community service project Nov. 12 at Sigsbee Charter School, landscaping and planting trees around the field where the students play ball. Once the crew has completed their community service project, they will have the opportunity to take in some of the treats Key West has to offer – historic tours and a sunset sail.

Duncan said he and his crew were happy to connect with their namesake city.

Since we are homeported so far away from our namesake city of Key West, I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the spirited and very supportive members of the community,” said Duncan. “I must thank the Key West Military Affairs Committee for hosting the visit and also for the contact and support they have provided us with throughout the years.”

Commissioned in 1987, Key West is the third vessel named in honor of the city and is currently homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Source: navy, November 14, 2011