Model sub christened the USS Williamsport
“I christen thee, U.S.S. Williamsport.”
With those words, and the crashing of a champagne bottle, what had long been a dream of Bill Reasner’s became reality.
“It’s been a two-year struggle to construct a sub for a float,” Reasner said as he stood before city hall where the scale model submarine was displayed Friday.
A simple ceremony attended by Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, local veterans and others marked the occasion.
Reasner, founder and former commander of Williamsport Base, a U.S. submarine veterans group, had long wanted to find a way to honor the many people who lost their lives serving on military subs.
The scale model Sturgeon Class SSN — subs formerly in service with the U.S. Navy — will now be shown in parades and at other local events.
“We calls those fast boats, he said. “They were extremely fast.”
Campana said calling the submarine the U.S.S. Williamsport is “pride for the city.”
“What a wonderful gesture,” he said.
For Reasner it goes beyond that.
The Navy veteran served on a diesel-powered sub out of Key West, Florida, fulfilling a boyhood dream. After starting the local chapter of submarine veterans, he wanted to find some way to honor fallen sub vets.
When he came up with the idea of constructing the submarine, he wasn’t sure of his next step. But he got to work on his project, gathering various partners in his plan.
PMS Industries, on Reach Road, did the design and fabrication work for the sub with Pennsylvania College of Technology auto restoration students doing the painting and finishing work for the boat.
Moonlight Graphics and JMS Embroidery helped complete the exterior look.
Reasner couldn’t be prouder.
“It will be our parade boat,” he said.
Don Young, commander of the Williamsport Base U.S. Submarine Veterans, noted that the sub is a salute to the men who gave their lives in service of their country.
“This was Bill’s dream,” he said.