In friendly, powerful and emotive ways, many Montanans met the new commanding officer of the future USS MONTANA and its Chief of the Boat recently. And in the process they were reminded of the dedication of our military to remembering…and protecting.
Commander Jon Quimby, Commanding Officer of PCU MONTANA (SSN 794) since July, and Master Chief Tim Baldwin, Chief of the Boat, were able to be in Big Sky Country over the solemn 9/11 weekend and participate in a number of events that brought tears and cheers.
The CO and COB unveiled the MONTANA’s future ship’s bell at a special ceremony in Butte. There the bell was rung in honor of the fallen — and veterans and future veterans — by submarine veteran Newell “Kit” Carson at a ceremony organized by the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. Montana Base.
More submarine veterans at a USSVI statewide meeting visited with CDR Quimby about the crew that will soon take MONTANA to her sea trials ahead of commissioning next year.
He and Master Chief Baldwin were warmly welcomed by the SubVets, as they would be over the entire weekend.
On September 11 itself, the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the heroic actions of those aboard Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Quimby and Baldwin won the admiration and respect of many.
In Bozeman, CDR Quimby’s introduction on the field during the first season home game of Montana State University was met with overwhelming cheers.
(The ‘Cats won!)
Just outside Bigfork, Master Chief Baldwin participated in an Honor and Serve Foundation annual 9/11 event.
His solemn ringing of the future USS MONTANA’s ship’s bell in honor of the fallen – 9/11, first responders and veterans – brought tears.
The next day both representatives of SSN 794 were able to learn a bit about Missoula and its history.
With the help of the Western Montana Military Officers Association, they toured Fort Missoula and its exceptional museum.
They visited the National Museum of Forest Service History.
And they stood beside the ship’s bell of Armored Cruiser Number 13, the first and only other USS MONTANA. That bell is the model for the new submarine-sized Oro y Plata bell that will sail aboard SSN 794 for her service life once commissioned into the Navy fleet next year.
That night WMMOA and Missoula welcomed CDR Quimby and MC Baldwin at a dinner that saw many wonderful post-presentation questions.
We are pleased and proud to have such fine representatives of the U.S. Navy and the future USS MONTANA. We know that our namesake warship is in good leadership hands as she prepares to fulfill her motto, inscribed on her emblem and ship’s bell: May she defend our way of life.