For nearly two decades, the USS Omaha submarine served on the front lines of the Cold War. Now, its namesake city hopes to turn it into a monument.
The Omaha Parks Foundation broke ground on the site at Levi Carter Park on Friday. When the memorial is finished, it will feature a reconstruction of the hull and the submarine's sail and rudder.
The foundation will need to raise $1 million to make the park a reality, said Amber Miller, executive director of the Omaha Parks Foundation. The city has committed $250,000 to the project, and construction will begin as soon as the rest of the money is raised.
Capt. Bartlett Lee Clark, a former commanding officer of the submarine, said at the ceremony that the submarine and its namesake have always had a relationship. U.S. Sen. Roman Hruska's wife, Victoria, attended the sub's launch in 1976. And city officials promoted a letter-writing campaign to the submarine's crew when it was commissioned, Clark said.
Clark said the sub was an example of the United States' technological advantage over the Soviet Union. If a sub fired first, he said, the crew would have to write up a report detailing what happened.
“Had the Cold War ever turned hot, we would have written up a lot of reports,” he said.
Mayor Jim Suttle said the monument's location, near the airport, would give it high visibility to visitors and residents alike.
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