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Five Navy sailors assigned to USS Iowa submarine welcomed to spend Thanksgiving with Iowa families

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — Five U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to the crew of the USS Iowa SSN-797 Submarine, that’s currently under construction, arrived in Eastern Iowa today to get to know the state they’ll be representing.

The five sailors are EMN1 Flynn Davis, ETN2 Timothy Trudeau, ETN3 Charles Johnson, MMN3 Andrew Duff.

Currently, there are 55 crew members assigned to the submarine. While it’s being constructed in Connecticut the crew is training to get ready to take over the warship.

“We’re trying to find ways to get our sailors connected with the state,” said U.S. Navy Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Randy Riewerts.

Riewerts, a Davenport native, is one of the only Iowans assigned to the USS Iowa Crew.

“It’s such an honor to have even been considered,” said Riewerts, “I was very excited about that when the timing lined up and the stars aligned, I was very excited.”

The submarine will bare this state’s namesake and the Navy wants to make sure the sailors know what they’re representing.

“We said, hey, would you guys be able to find some families that take in our sailors for thanksgiving and show them some Iowa hospitality. That’s really the purpose of our guys coming here,” said Riewerts.

For sailor, Charles Johnson, this is his first time here experiencing that Iowa nice culture the state is so well known for.

“Happy to be here and meet some of the people here of Iowa and experiencing the hospitality and the joy of family hood,” said Johnson.

The USS Iowa, which will look similar to the submarine pictured below, is the last of the Virginia class.

“They can go anyplace in the world, they can go to the north pole, they can circle under the water at years at a time if necessary,” said Treasurer of the USS Iowa Commissioning Committee, Steve Regan.

As part of the commissioning committee, Regan is helping to rally Iowans around this soon to be warship, raising money and awareness of this honor.

“We have a lot of duties, a lot of expectations, a lot of things going on and that’s part of that connectivity of the people of Iowa and the crew of the USS Iowa,” said Regan.

After arriving at the airport today, the sailors headed to area schools to talk with students about life in the Navy and what it means to serve.

Tomorrow, they’ll be at the Mission of Hope serving up meals to the homeless before spending Thanksgiving with their host families.

“Even though we receive taxpayer money from all 50 states and you know US Citizens. It’s still to some degree symbolic of us to be here for the people who gave us our name, like what is our title and it would make no sense to never see those people,” said Johnson.

The USS Iowa Commissioning Committee is looking to send more Sailors to Iowa in the coming months. They’re looking for families to host them all over the state.

If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Mat Tanner at (319) 654-5158 or email him at

If you’d like to purchase a patch and donate to the commissioning committee fund that supports the USS Iowa’s christening event contact them through Facebook or (319) 654-5158.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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