DES MOINES, Iowa — The USS Iowa SSN 797 was Christened back in June of this year and efforts for the commissioning of the ship are now underway in the state.
The christening of the ship marked the moment the nuclear submarine was ready to hit the water for sea trials. Commissioning of the ship is when the vessel is cleared for active duty. The USS Iowa has a commissioning committee that raises funds for equipment for the ship’s crew.
On Sunday, Iowa Navy Veterans were invited to Big Grove Brewery in downtown Des Moines to meet with the commanding officer of the vessel and a couple crew members.
“When we carry the Iowa name we carry all of this, all of the people from Iowa, all of the previous people that served, the incredible history of Iowa,” said Matt Powell, the Commanding Officer for the USS Iowa. “And the commissioning committee is the one that folds that all in and they really wrap that into the true spirit of the ship that will carry with it for the next several decades as the ship performs missions here on out.”
A crew member aboard the USS Iowa is visiting the ship’s namesake for the first time this weekend. He shared with WHO 13 News that this visit adds a new level of respect for the ship and the state.
“It’s really cool, seeing that support it’s just uplifting,” said Christian Leporati, STS2 on the USS Iowa. “It really helps you just kind of keep going, when I go back when I leave here. It’s more reinforcement that there’s people rooting for you.”
Both Powell and Leporati along with two other crew members will be at the Iowa State Fair on Monday before heading back to Connecticut where the submarine is currently stationed.
Big Grove Brewery partnered with a brewery out in Connecticut, to create the “Rack Stowed Cream Ale” to raise funds for the ship’s commissioning.
The full list of donors to for the USS Iowa can be found on the ship’s website.