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Commissioning committee for U.S.S. Billings honors sponsors

Posted at 11:07 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 01:07:57-04

BILLINGS — The commissioning for the Navy warship named after the city of Billings took place in August, but Wednesday night was time to salute some who had a hand in the success of that historic event.

The U.S.S. Billings Commissioning Committee hosted a reception for all its sponsors Wednesday night at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.

As the namesake city, the commissioning committee was tasked with picking up a large part of the tab for the commissioning events in Key West, Fla.

Businesses, individuals, and veterans’ groups all joined in the fund-raising efforts. After all the expenses were paid, there will be more than $150,000 left over to support the sailors who will staff the ship.

“We anticipate that we are going to have a fund established that we are going to be able to fund the crew for the next 20 years or so that the ship is in service—whether it be college education, or things for the morale and welfare of the crew,” said commissioning coordinator Ron Spence.

Those in attendance also heard from one of the members of the crew of the U.S.S. Billings, who said the support the sailors are getting from Billings is very welcome.

“Having that connection there, you really have something beyond the name here. It’s kind of a home feeling. It really take it from a team to a family,” said LTJG David Johnson, a weapons system officer on the ship.

The hope is that this is just the beginning of a long relationship between the city of Billings and those who serve on the ship that bears its name.

Click here to see videos from the USS Billings commissioning ceremony.