USNS Carson City will have hometown captain |

USNS Carson City will have hometown captain

John Barrette

The USNS Carson City, a naval vessel now being built, will have leadership from Nevada’s capital and its keel will have a mayoral imprint as well.

Those facts involving the USNS Carson City (JHSV 7) came to light Thursday through Mayor Robert Crowell via his communications with the captain-designate and with the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Ships.

Crowell first heard from Capt. Robert Wiley, a Carson City resident of 23 years and the man who will captain the ship, and later from Alicia Aadnesen of the executive office for ships requesting mayoral presence as the keel authenticator at a July 31 ceremony.

“This is quite an honor for an old salt like me, and its wonderful for Carson City as well,” he said of the latter invitation, which he has accepted.

“You have made history in a very meaningful way,” the mayor replied to Wiley’s email on being named the USNS Carson City captain, “and in that regard I took the liberty of letting Governor Sandoval know of this exciting news this morning — he was likewise excited. I think you can expect to hear from him.”

The ship is under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, and the keel laying is the first of two ceremonies as it nears service. This first ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. on that final Friday of the month. “As keel authenticator,” Aadnesen wrote Crowell, “you would sign your initials into a steel plate to symbolically signify that (USNS) Carson City’s keel has been truly and fairly laid. That plate will later be affixed to the ship and will forever sail with Carson City.”

“I have let them know that I would be pleased and honored to attend,” the mayor said of his reply to the executive office for ships that’s involved in design and construction of the USNS Carson City.

Regarding the newly-named ship’s captain, the mayor called it “pretty cool” Wiley and his spouse, Pamela, are long time city residents. In his communication with the captain, Crowell referred to his own naval service.

“As a retired Navy captain the USNS Carson City is particularly meaningful to me,” he wrote, “and as mayor the fact that its first captain is one of our own makes it even more meaningful.”

Wiley told Crowell his current naval role is as skipper of the U.S. Naval Hospital Ship USNS Comfort, which is on a humanitarian mission in central America. He said he’s looking to turn over that ship to his relief some time next month and head home for a few weeks before going for JHSV type training on the east coast. He said he sought the opportunity to captain the new ship named for his community. “And luckily,” he told Crowell, “I am just senior enough to successfully request this assignment.” He also gave the mayor a pledge: “I give you my word the USNS Carson City will be a ship worthy of her name.”