Campaign Aims to Create USS Oklahoma City Submarine Tribute

USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723)
-- Military.com

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A campaign has been launched to create a tribute to Oklahoma's naval history featuring the USS Oklahoma City submarine.

Architect Don Beck will be presenting plans for the USS Oklahoma City Park to the city, The Oklahoman reported. The plans show the submarine surrounded by informational displays, a flagpole plaza and monument sign.

Beck has also teamed up with retired Rear Adm. Greg Slavonik and retired Navy Cmdr. Tucker McHugh to raise about $500,000 for the memorial. The three men also teamed up to raise $1 million to create a memorial for the USS Oklahoma that was sunk at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Slavonik said he hopes the memorial will educate people about the state's contributions to the U.S. Navy.

"We have a rich heritage with individuals who have served in the Navy, Slavonic said. "I want young people to understand the importance of the Navy in Oklahoma."

The memorial is planned to correspond with the decommissioning of the submarine. It's scheduled to be taken out of service by 2019.

The submarine is currently at its home port in the U.S. Territory of Guam, which is on the front lines in the continued escalation of tension with North Korea.

McHugh and Slavonic said they couldn't on the role the submarine is playing in the ongoing conflict.

Slavonic said the city can take pride that the submarine is operating in an area where military preparedness is vital.

"Moving forward, I think the submarines will be one the main deterrents as we move forward with our national defense strategy," Slavonic said. "Oklahoma City is forward deployed and operating at the tip of the spear."

The USS Oklahoma City submarine was commissioned in 1988.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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