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State Rep. Mark Meek among attendees of check presentation to benefit crew of new submarine.

COURTESY PHOTO: DAVE VROOMAN - A Clackamas County Veterans of Foreign Wars post donates $10,000 to the committee for commissioning USS Oregon, a new U.S. Navy submarine. When the Navy commissions the USS Oregon later this fall, it will be the first to bear that name since the iconic battleship USS Oregon did 125 years ago.

However, when the Navy commissions a new boat, they can only pay for the commissioning ceremony. Associated events and ceremonies are paid through private donations. To that end, on July 27, the Veterans of Foreign Wars post serving Oregon City, West Linn, Gladstone, Clackamas, Happy Valley, Redland and Beavercreek proudly presented a check for $10,000 to the USS Oregon Commissioning Committee, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization through the Portland council of the Navy League of the U.S.

Approximately 28 people attended the presentation at the Oregon City-based VFW Post, including State Rep. Mark Meek, Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull, former County Commissioner Ken Humberston, as well as VFW Post 1324 members and auxiliary members.

COURTESY PHOTO: U.S. NAVY - The USS Oregon is a Virginia-class fast attack submarine similar to the USS New Hampshire pictured here."The Commissioning Committee for the USS Oregon was very grateful to the VFW Post 1324 who made such a generous donation. They join six others in making donations of $10,000 or more. However, the bulk of our donations are from individuals and companies donating whatever they can afford," said Jim Lasher, Co-Chairman USS Oregon Commissioning Committee. "We are all volunteers who are dedicated to providing the crew of (USS) Oregon a memorable experience as their boat is commissioned. The crew has worked very hard to bring the boat to this point in its life, so we are responsible for raising the funds to provide the memories," said Lasher.

From bulldog to Trail Blazers

The boat, which is one of the newest submarines, is being built in Groton, Connecticut at General Dynamics Electric Boat.

COURTESY PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA/CURTIS - The battleship USS Oregon as it appeared in 1919 while serving as the flagship for President Woodrow Wilson's review of the Pacific Fleet.The original USS Oregon, parts of which can be seen in Portland's Waterfront Park, was commissioned in 1896 and was nicknamed "McKinley's Bulldog." The newest USS Oregon, SSN 793, will cruise beneath the waves as part of the Navy's fast attack submarine fleet. The flag for the Navy's newest boat (all submarines are referred to as boats) bears the words Trail Blazers, Mount Up!

"The USS Oregon Commissioning Committee appreciates the VFW Three Rivers post 1324 for giving us the opportunity to share with the people of Oregon the honor of having a second Navy vessel named for the state of Oregon," said Dave Vrooman, operations chair for the USS Oregon Commissioning Committee. "The VFW's generous donation of $10,000 to the Commissioning Committee will help give the members of the crew of the Oregon the traditional events that go back to the Greeks."

The sponsor of the USS Oregon, Dana Richardson, is the wife of retired Admiral in Charge of Navy Operations, John Richardson.

How to contribute

For information on how to support the commissioning of the USS Oregon or to purchase memorabilia or tickets to the commissioning, visit the USS Oregon website (

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