USS Montana crew visits Glacier Park

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From left, Aaron Bishop, Marlon Haughton and Tyler Fellows check out a cast of a grizzly bear paw while visiting Glacier National park last week.

When the USS Montana takes its first dive into the depths of the ocean in a couple of years, a scene of Glacier National Park will go with it.

The seal of the new Virginia-class submarine currently under construction features a scene of St. Mary Lake, sailors who will be on the sub told Glacier National Park staffers last week during a visit to the Park.

When completed, the nuclear submarine will be one of the most advanced in the world. In coordination with the USS Montana Committee, headed up by chairman Bill Whitsitt, future crew members have been touring the state to promote the new submarine.

Montana hasn’t had a U.S. naval craft named after it since at least World War I, noted Lt. Aaron Bishop, a Frenchtown native. Bishop and EMN2 Tyler Fellows and CSS1 Marlon Haughton visited with Glacier Park superintendent Jeff Mow last week, as well as chatting with veterans who now work for the Park Service.

Mow noted that the Park Service has its roots in the military and veterans alos have a preference in federal higring outside of the military.

Glacier has a substantial number of veterans on its staff, representing every branch of the military except the Coast Guard.

Mow also noted to the sailors that the Park has a unique geological feature — a triple divide, where water that lands on the peaks ends up in the world’s three main oceans — the very seas the men will patrol.

The USS Montana is expected to be commissioned in late 2021. A typical deployment lasts about six months and Bishop said the longest time he’s spent submerged was 74 days.

The nuclear fuel lasts 30 years and the sub can make its own freshwater.

“The only thing we run out of is food,” he said.

Anyone can support the submarine, Whitsitt noted. Visit https://ussmontanacommittee.us for more details.

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