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With a sub named after their city, OKC residents are showing the love

On a weeklong visit to Oklahoma City while their boat is in San Diego for maintenance, crew members of the USS Oklahoma City are feeling the love from residents.
by William Crum Modified: September 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm •  Published: September 20, 2013

The relationship between the city and the boat began with the boat's commissioning on July 9, 1988. Former Mayor Ron Norick remembers admonishing the assembled admirals to, “Make sure to take care of our boat.”

It's a relationship that grew tighter after the 1995 Murrah Building bombing, when the crew sponsored a blood drive and gathered relief supplies. Officers' wives visited the injured.

Crew members wear Thunder T-shirts. Norick said the officers' mess is named Cattlemen's Cafe in honor of the venerable Stockyards restaurant.

Delegations from the city have visited the boat. Visitors have included children who were in the Murrah Building day care and were injured in the bombing.

Norick said they've always found the submariners to be “the top of the class.”

Defined by service

Thursday's stops included the CityCare Day Shelter on NW 4 Street, where three sailors helped serve lunch to more than 100 people.

Master Chief Petty Officer Joey Hundley said the sailors had a helicopter tour of the city and visited Children's Hospital.

They were moved by a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, he said.

“There's still people that tell the story like it was yesterday,” he said.

“The pride the city has in having a namesake boat is fabulous,” said Hundley, who grew up in Pilot Mountain, N.C., and is serving on his fifth nuclear submarine, all Los Angeles-class, fast-attack boats like the Oklahoma City.

“I can say one thing for sure, I'll be back.”