Yesterday afternoon (11/9) I happened to be at Scheels. My brother was in town and we were loitering around waiting for his paperwork on a new gun purchase. Suddenly, at least a dozen men and women in uniform come strolling through the store. "Are those Navy uniforms?" I asked. "Looks like it", he replied. Unsure of what was going on, we finished up our business and left.

Today, I saw a post from Billings City Government that explained who and why the Navy crew members are here. It turns out the crew from the USS Billings has been in town this week on a PR tour. You've still got a chance to meet them before they head out.

Photo By: MC3 Anthony Robledo
Photo By: MC3 Anthony Robledo

Stopping by local schools and businesses.

It looks like the sailors had lunch at the Red Door yesterday before I ran into them at Scheels. They also spent some time Wednesday at Ben Steele middle school. Dubbed The Thundercats, the Gold Crew service men and women will be in the area through Saturday. Here's their itinerary:

  • Friday, November 11, the Gold Crew will be at Lockwood School, located at 2016 Old US Highway 87, at 10 a.m. for a Veteran's Day ceremony.
  • The Heights VFW, located at 637 Anchor Ave., will host a public event and dinner at 5 p.m on Friday.
  • On Saturday, November 12 at 9 a.m., they will visit the USS Billings Wall inside the Billings Public Library at 510 N. Broadway.
  • At 10 a.m. Saturday they will go to the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site on Black Otter Trail.
  • They will visit the Yellowstone County Museum at 1950 Terminal Circle at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.
  • Their last public event of the day will be the Rocky Mountain College football game and tailgate lunch at 11:45 a.m. The crew will be introduced on the field at half-time.
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Photo By: Seaman Aaron Lau
Photo By: Seaman Aaron Lau

About the USS Billings

The ship was built in Marinette, Wisconsin, and is one of the Navy's newest warships. According to the Friends of the USS Billings page,

[the] Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) that will operate in waters close to the shore. The vessel also has a helicopter pad, a ramp for small boats and can be used by small assault forces.

While the USS Billings is the 15th in the class of fast and versatile Littoral Combat Ships, it is the first time that Billings has been honored as a namesake city.

Credit: USN
Credit: USN

Patroling the Caribean.

Aaron Flint from KBUL News Talk caught up with two of the USS Billings crew members this week on his show. The sailors mentioned they've been working drug interdiction efforts in the Caribean Sea, and even took the craft as far south as Ecuador (I assume via the Panama Canal?). You can take listen to the audio below.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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