Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch recently toured the USS Oak Ridge, the submarine-servicing namesake ship, which is docked at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland.

The visit follows a ceremony last month at which members of the crew who served during 1975-79, held a reunion in Oak Ridge and presented the ship’s bell to the City. At their reunion, the crewmembers also presented a “Board for the Boardwalk” purchased to support the flat top house at the American Museum of Science and Energy.

The ship was commissioned in 1944 and saw combat action in the Philippines during World War II. In September 1962, it was recommissioned as the USS Oak Ridge ARDM-1 Class Medium Auxiliary Repair Dock (ARDM), and transferred to U.S. Coast Guard in 2002. The year 2017 will mark the ship’s 55th Anniversary of recommissioning as the USS Oak Ridge.

Mayor Gooch reflected on the experience as a once in a lifetime opportunity. “After visiting with the crew at the reunion last month, I learned that the ship was docked in Baltimore and contacted the Coast Guard to arrange a visit,” he said. “Almost immediately, I received an invitation to tour the ship. My hosts, Captain George Lesher and Lieutenant Commander Miles Randall, could not have been more welcoming and generous with their time. I invited them for a reciprocal visit to Oak Ridge to help commemorate the anniversary of the ship’s commissioning as the USS Oak Ridge.”

“We have also invited the crewmembers back to Oak Ridge to commemorate the anniversary and are hoping their reunion here will be an annual event,” added the Mayor. “The bell, which is on display in the foyer of the Municipal Building, has taken on even greater significance after touring the ship.”

For more information visit the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov.

News media contact: Nick Sisco at (865) 425-3546 or nsisco@oakridgetn.gov