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USS Montana Crew shares experience of working on ship named after the Treasure State

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 10, 2023

Crew members from the USS Montana came to the Museum of the Rockies to answer questions and share what it's like to work on a ship named after the Treasure State.

“To be in charge of a nuclear power warship's the best word is humbling,” said Commanding Officer Jon Quimby.

USS Montana's Commanding Officer John Quimby, Assistant Operations Officer Cody Popelka, and Engineering Department Master Chief Kevin Frey came to The Museum of the Rockies on Friday to speak about their experience and answer questions about the submarine.

“It's been awesome meeting all the great people," said Quimby, "And it's just a great trip.”

According to Navy Commissions, the first USS Montana was an armored cruiser commissioned into the U.S. fleet in 1908. It served throughout the First World War and was decommissioned in 1921. The new USS Montana is a Virginia class fast attack submarine commissioned in June of 2022.

“Bill Whitsett and the Montana Committee have done such a great job of bringing Montana the culture of Montana, the people of Montana, and kind of putting that into the ship,” said Quimby.

The crew says every day is different and a unique challenge. The current ship is involved in many missions and will be in Pearl Harbor soon.

“We have anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare. We have special operations missions. We have intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance missions,” said Quimby.

For Cody Popelka, coming to speak at The Museum of the Rockies as an assistant operations officer is a great opportunity.

“I'm actually a Montana State grad, so I've been in this museum a lot before," said Popelka. "I'm so excited to be back.”

It's Kevin Frey's first time in Montana and after meeting the people of the state, he's even more proud to work on a ship named after Montana.

“The people are just, they've been so welcoming and, you know, so much nicer than what I'm used to on the East Coast,” said Frey.