GREENEVILLE, (Tenn.) — Since the USS Greeneville first sailed in September 1994, the people of Greeneville have made a point of sharing their support for the crew on the nuclear warship that bears the East Tennessee city’s name.
Now, they have a massive visual reminder that Greeneville considers its namesake status to be more than just a formality.
On Monday, the town unveiled a new mural depicting the USS Greeneville as it moved through white cresting ocean waves. The sprawling artwork is the latest addition to the city’s mural trail and can be viewed from the parking lot of the Greene County Partnership.
“The city of Greeneville is simply amazing,” said Cmdr. Robert Lane, commander of the U.S.S. Greeneville and leader of a delegation of crew members from the submarine who came to Greeneville for the mural unveiling.
Lane was amazed at the detail of the mural created by artist Joe Kilday.
“Not only did they get the Advanced Seal Delivery System – we were the last boat to have that on board – they got our battle crest too,” he said. “This mural is simply amazing.”
Lane said he was moved by the town’s ongoing commitment to the submarine and its crew.
“We have this very large machine that I put 164 sailors in, and we work continuously around the clock.”
That machine is a Los Angeles-class attack submarine named after Greeneville, Tennessee because part of the ship was made in Greeneville back in the early 1990s. From the start, town leaders led the charge to have the sub named for the town and worked to maintain a constant connection.
“Here it is almost 30 years later, and this town and county supports the USS Greeneville like no other,” said Tom Murray. He helped build the ship and then joined the USS Greeneville crew. After the Navy, Murray said he could have settled down anywhere, but he chose the town that took the namesake to heart.
“That was a big draw for me to come to Tennessee, and it all started with the USS Greeneville.”
Murray came to the mural unveiling to welcome crew members to his new hometown.
“There’s no other place like Greeneville,” he said.
In 2010, News Channel 11 spent time on the USS Greeneville watching as its crew trained off the coast of Hawaii.
The one-hour documentary called “USS Greeneville Rising” aired on WJHL-TV giving people in Greeneville and Greene County a first look inside the working submarine as it patrolled the waters of the Pacific Ocean as part of top-secret maneuvers.
“The job we ask our students to do is hard and it’s better when there’s someone out there showing us love,” said Chief Daniel Dumitrche, Chief of the Boat on the USS Greeneville.
Dumitrche said he’s not aware of another Navy ship with a namesake connection that compares to the link between the USS Greeneville and Greeneville, Tennessee.
“The support from Greeneville – there isn’t another that can measure,” he said.