Recent News

USS Grayling (SS 209) Memorial Ceremony – September 9, 2017

Pictured to the right at USS Colorado Commissioning Committee Chairman, John Mackin, Rear Admiral Kerry Metz and Denver Council President, Dan Puleio at the USS Grayling (SS 209) Memorial Ceremony at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver.  This event is sponsored each year by the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. to honor the crew of USS Grayling, one of 52 submarines lost in World War II.  A retired SEAL, Rear Admiral Metz commended the bravery of the crew of SS 209 and drew parallels between the submarine community in WWII and his own SEAL community.  Despite their small size, both groups showed enduring courage in their willingness to take on the most dangerous missions in support of our country.



Erie Air Fair – Saturday, August 12th

USS Colorado Commissioning Committee members, Dick Cooper, Chris Nielson, Florence Mackin, John Mackin and Dan Puleio, at the Erie Air Fair on Saturday, August 12th.  Not pictured are Bruce Nielson and Wil Zurliene, who were out working the crowd.

We distributed over 100 USS Colorado Brochures in an effort to spread the word that the state of Colorado will soon be honored with a Virginia Class submarine commissioned in her name.


USS Colorado Commissioning Committee – July 21, 2017

Friday, July 21st was a busy day for several members of the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee. The Committee, in conjunction with sponsor Charles Schwab, presented a framed picture of the ship’s crest to Senator Cory Gardner.

Committee member & Charles Schwab employee, Ryan Schwab, presents a framed picture of the ship’s crest to Senator Cory Gardner.

On hand were Committee members Ryan Schwab, Dick Cooper and Florence Mackin along with several members of Charles Schwab at the Schwab campus in Lone Tree. Several members of Senator Gardner’s staff were also on hand, including 3 interns working for the summer in his Denver office. The Senator was interested in the activities of the committee over the past 3 years, including the production of the ship’s bell by noted Colorado sculptor, George Lundeen, and the installation of photographs by Colorado nature photographer, John Fielder, in the crew’s mess. The Senator was proud to add his signature to our “traveling” picture of a Virginia Class submarine.   He expressed his appreciation for the picture of the ship’s crest, which will hang in his office in Washington, DC.

At about the same time, Committee Chair JJ Mackin assisted Congressman Ed Perlmutter and Colorado’s new Adjutant General, Major General Michael Loh, in honoring Vietnam-era Veterans in a ceremony at Red Rocks Community College.

John Mackin, Major General Michael Loh, and Congressman Perlmutter presenting a certificate of appreciation and lapel pin to a Vietnam Veteran.

Over 50 veterans of the era were presented with Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins. This was the fifth such ceremony Congressman Perlmutter has organized. for more information about the program visit:…/vietnam-war-50th-commemorati….





RADM Dietrich Kuhlmann – July 10 2017

RADM Dietrich Kuhlmann presenting in an event hosted by the Denver Council on July 10, 2017.

The Denver Council hosted an event for  “Friends of the Navy” organizations featuring OPNAV N80, Rear Admiral Dietrich Kuhlmann, on July 10, 2017. The subject of his exceptionally informative talk was “The State of the World from the Navy’s Perspective.”  About 40 people from various military support organizations attended.





Bill Signing – June 5, 2017 

Governor John Hickenlooper signed the Appropriations Bill for USS Colorado on June 5, 2017 flanked by members of the Commissioning Committee.





Navy League Gala – May 19, 2017

We were honored to have retired Navy Captain Buddy Wellborn present a very informative and interesting talk on China in the 21st Century, including the aggressive militarization that we have seen in recent years.  In response, the United States must remain vigilant in maintaining strategic relationships and an evolving military presence in the Far East in order to counter the threat.


Council President, Dan Puleio, thanks Buddy Wellborn with a USS Constitution coin for his presentation to the Denver Council.



We were also honored to have Denver area appointees to the Naval, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine Academies, as well as NROTC scholarships recipients, pictured on the right with their family members, join us.

Maria Secrest, Regional Director of the office of US Senator Cory Gardner, read a letter from the Senator thanking these young people for their willingness to serve their country and wishing them much success as they begin their college careers.

Tri-Service Awards at CU Boulder – April 20, 2017

Denver Council President Dan Puleio presented Midshipman Amber Spawn the Council’s top leadership award at the CU Boulder Tri-Service awards ceremony.  Midshipman Spawn, a graduating senior, has been selected for flight training.  She will first spend a year in Israel, earning a Master’s Degree in counter terrorism..



Rocky Mountain Navy – April 12, 2017



Retired Navy Captain Dick Life presented an informative talk entitled, “Understanding Russian Leaders to the members of the Rocky Mountain Navy Association.



Navy League Dinner – March 24, 2017

Captain Brian Quin, Commanding Officer of USS Essex (LHD 2) was the guest speaker at our dinner on March 24, 2017.  The USS Essex is home ported in San Diego, CA and carries a complement of 1,200 sailors and marines.  The ship’s mission is to take Marine rifleman and ordinance anywhere in the world at a time of our choosing.  Captain Quin shared photos of the ship’s 2016 deployment to the Gulf and back, where he and his crew supported 93 strike missions in Syria and Iraq.  He spoke with great pride of dedication and maturity of the young sailors on his crew, who have volunteered to defend the American way of life.

USS Essex is currently undergoing an extended planned maintenance availability period to upgrade computer and weapon systems, and the deck to support the new Joint Strike Fighter.  Captain Quin also addressed our country’s need to adapt to ever evolving challenges to maintain sea control in a changing world.
Pictured to the right are Denver Council Dan Puleio thanking Captain Quin for his very interesting and inspiring talk.

At the meeting, we also presented a plaque honoring the NOSC Sailor of the Year, pictured here with his lovely wife, who was also thanked for her support.



JJ Mackin, Chair of the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee, showed a new promotional video, produced by Mountain Time Media for the USS Colorado. Click here to see the video.

Regional SeaPerch Competition – March 11, 2017

The Regional SeaPerch (underwater remotely operated vehicle) competition was held on Saturday, March 11 at the University of Colorado Student Recreation Center on the Boulder campus.  The Navy Recruiting District Denver officiated at the competition, which included 15 local area high schools.  Ponderosa, Monarch, and Overland High Schools were extended an invitation to compete at the national level on May 19 & 20 at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA. The Denver Council and Rocky Mountain Navy Assn graciously offered to cover the pizza lunch expense for the 200 students, faculty, parents, and Navy officials. Click here to see the competition photo album.  You can find more information on the national program at the SeaPerch website.

Commanding Officer of the Navy Recruiting District Denver, CDR Renee Tanaka, hosted the Regional Sea Perch competition at CU Boulder’s Student Recreation Center, Saturday, 11 March 2017



Valentine’s Day Visit to Heather Grove

On February 14th, members of the Navy League delivered snacks, sweets and personalized cards to the Military Veterans at Heather Grove assisted Living Center. This and previous visits were sincerely appreciated by the residents who asked that the relationship be continued for other special occasions.


USS Colorado Crew Visit – January 24 to 28
The USS Colorado Commissioning Committee was honored to host USS Colorado crew members Executive Officer LCDR Steve Col, Chief of the Boat ETCM Freddie Richter, ETN1 Kyle Rowe and MMN2 Tyler Magers in late January. During their time in our state, they visited the Center for American Values and the Medal of Honor Memorial in Pueblo. They gave presentations on the Navy, submarines and the value of STEM education at Golden High School and at Panorama Middle School in Colorado Springs. They toured the Charles Schwab campus in Lone Tree with Committee Member Ryan Schwab and were hosted at lunch by the Military Veterans Network at Western Union. On Friday, January 27th, they attended Military Appreciation Day at the State Capital.


Navy League Dinner – January 20, 2017
On January 20, the Denver Council hosted retired Navy Captain Mike McGrath as our principal speaker. Mike spent almost six years as a “guest” at the infamous Hanoi Hilton after his plane was shot down in Vietnam. Mike spoke movingly of the importance of having strong core values and the power and resilience of the human spirit, even in the worst of circumstances.   We were also pleased to recognize the NOIC Sailors of the Year.

We were also pleased to honor the NIOC Sailors of the Year.  Pictured below is Dick Life, retired Navy Captain and Denver Council Member re-enlisting one of our honorees.