The first ship to be named for explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the USS Lewis and Clark, was a Benjamin Franklin class ballistic missile submarine. The keel was laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding and dry Dock Company at Newport News, Virginia on July 29, 1963. In 1966, the USS Lewis and Clark began deterrent patrols armed with Polaris A3 ballistic missiles. In July 1972, the conversion was completed to carry Poseidon C3 ballistic missiles. The submarine successfully launched Poseidon C-3 missiles during several follow-on Operational Tests. The Lewis and Clark was decommissioned on June 27, 1992. Her sails and fairwater planes and the top of her rudder are on display at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina. The memorial is for officers and men of the U.S. Navy Submarine service who served during the Cold War.
This week, we salute Ron Wertz. Ron served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years and 3 months. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1979. His father was also a career Navy man. Ron went to bootcamp in San Diego, California. Ron served on the USS Benjamin Franklin, USS Lewis and Clark and the USS Sam Rayburn during his career. Originally from Bromfield, Colorado, Ron moved to Colstrip Montana after he retired from the Navy. He worked at the Colstrip power plant from 2008 to 2020 where he retired for a second time. He is married to Cindy Wertz, they have three children, and two grandchildren.
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Dr. Irene Dickerson has a doctorate in Business Administration and is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.