Navy sailors from the future U.S.S Idaho visit the Gem State

CASCADE (KIVI) – The future U.S.S Idaho will be the 26th submarine in the Virginia Class and some of the sailors that will man this nuclear submarine are making a tour in Idaho.

These navy sailors visited a school in Nampa, made an appearance at the Idaho legislature and have also been in Valley County for the McCall Winter Carnival.

KIVI caught up with them during a meet and greet with veterans at the American Legion Post 60 in Cascade and for many of these sailors, this marks their first visit to Idaho.

“The support of our military, not just the Navy, not just U.S.S. Idaho, but the military, in general, has been nothing short of amazing,” said Master Chief Dean Martin, who has served on six different submarines, including four of them in the Virginia class.

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The Master Chief told stories of being stuck out at sea during the pandemic so now he’s happy to be helping the crew learn this new submarine so that he can spend more time with his wife and seven children.

“The technological advancement of the Virginia class is almost unfathomable,” said Martin. “The missions that we are capable of are unmatched across the world and the stealth capabilities that we have allows us to operate in shallower waters than we were able to before allowing us to put special forces on the ground in a country if we want to.”

It also meant a lot to the veterans who had a fun time engaging with these sailors sharing their stories and talking to the next generation that is carrying on their legacy.

“It’s a real honor for me to live in Idaho and for these guys to be a part of that and know the ship is going to be commissioned while I’m still here,” said Navy veteran Jack Knoblock.

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Commander Nicholas Meyers will lead the crew of 135 sailors who will operate this $2.44 billion piece of machinery after it gets commissioned into the Navy.

“We are really looking forward to it Steve,” said Meyers. “We are working hard every day so we will be ready to go out on day one take our new warship to sea, deter aggression against the United States, and if need be, be ready to fight.”

Even though Idaho is a land-locked state, we have a rich tradition with the Navy not only will the U.S.S Idaho be the fifth ship to bear Idaho’s name, but the nuclear technology that will allow this submarine to operate for 30 plus years without needing to fill up comes from nuclear development by the Idaho National Laboratory.

“A lot of that nuclear technology, in particular, was designed and developed right here in Idaho which is one of the reasons we are proud to have the Idaho name,” said Meyers.

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But this crew also gets to enjoy some of the treasures of Idaho, on Sunday they took a snowmobile ride to Burgdorf Hot Springs and we know from experience that is a one of a kind expedition.

“So excited to go up there,” said Ensign Matthew Merriman. “I have never done hot springs in the snow, this will be my second hot springs ever so I’m really excited to check it out.”

The sailors will make their final appearance on Tuesday at the Warhawk Museum for their monthly Kilroy Coffee Klatch at 10:00 a.m.

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