Sailors Assigned to USS Jacksonville Visit Namesake City


Five Sailors assigned to Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) visited Jacksonville, Fla., May 9-14, during a namesake visit sponsored by Navy League Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Commanding Officer Cmdr. Nate Sukols, Chief of the Boat Command Master Chief (SS/DV) Roger Schneider, Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Andrew Crips, Sonar Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class (SS) Davin Fields and Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class (SS) Thomas Rode´ spent the week meeting local officials, visiting local schools and enjoying various attractions throughout the Jacksonville area.

“One of our missions at the Navy League is to enhance the morale of active duty Sailors and Marines and this visit was a great opportunity to do that,” said Chuck Tamblyn, Navy League Jacksonville president. “It was also a great opportunity for some of the Jacksonville’s Sailors to come here and experience Jacksonville and get an understanding of what the city is all about and what their ship is named after.”

According to Sukols, it was an honor to be able to represent his boat on such a visit.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to be here and have the opportunity to represent USS Jacksonville,” he said. “The city has been so supportive and it’s actually very humbling to be the center of attention like this. We’re one of 18 submarines in Pearl Harbor, so we’re not really used to it, but to come here and be treated so special is really incredibly humbling and we are very grateful to the city, the base and the Navy League.”

During the trip, Jacksonville Sailors visited First Coast High School and spoke to two Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps classes. At Oceanway Middle School, more than 900 students packed the gymnasium for a question-and-answer period that emphasized the importance of math and science and how it applies to their Navy careers.

“It’s an important message because math and science can be the building blocks of a successful career,” Schneider said. “We use it on a daily basis, whether it’s to detect range or direction or just about everything else. Everywhere you look, there are guys doing math and science. It’s fundamental and it’s important for anyone who wants to pursue higher education.”

The Sailors also conducted a number of other events in the local community, including visit to Wolfson Children’s Hospital and a service project at Ronald McDonald House where they crew spread mulch and worked to improve the landscaping around the childrens’ play area.

“Seeing the Ronald McDonald House was inspiring because it’s a 100 percent volunteer effort,” Crips said. “That kind of thing is really the mark of a good society and the work those volunteers are putting in is a reflection of the good will of the people in the Jacksonville community.”

While community projects were a large part of the trip, the Sailors also found time to enjoy some recreational activities in the Jacksonville area, including a tour of Everbank Field, a Jacksonville Suns baseball game and a visit to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.

According to Sukols, the only down side to the trip was that he could not bring along more of his Sailors.

“There are only five of us here, but we’re representing the entire 140-man crew of USS Jacksonville. While I know they appreciate the support we’ve received from the city of Jacksonville leading up to this trip, I wish that more of them could have experienced the warm reception that we’ve had through the past few days.”

Naval Today Staff , May 15, 2012