STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Sailors learn to tie knots. A ship’s cruising speed is measured in knots
Scott Edwards and his wife Kathleen, or Kat, tied the knot in a big way 20 years ago when he served on the USS The Sullivans. They can’t believe that much time has passed on their cruise in life.
Edwards, a native of the Iowa community of Victor on the county line between Poweshiek and Iowa counties, and Kat were married on board ship just two days before the ship’s 1997 commissioning at Staten Island, N.Y.
They returned to the site of their wedding on the 20th anniversary commemoration of the ship’s commissioning and shared an anniversary kiss in the ship’s pilot house where they were wed. They now live on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, near where they met.
“The senior chief (petty officer) took us to where we were married,” she said. “We got to take some pictures. Got to take a kissing picture. It was real nice.”
“The same ship, same pier," Scott said. “It was the first time since I got off the ship that we’ve been able to see the ship. So it’s real impressive. She looks real good after the 20 years of service she’s already done.
“It was my last ship before I retired from the Navy,” Scott said. “I came in on the commissioning crew.” He spoke with some current “Sully sailors” in his work area. “And some of the stuff I had started is happening because that’s been passed down. And it’s kind of neat.”
The couple were loaded down with Sullivan souvenirs and apparel. And like many current and former “Sully sailors,” Scott maintains a tie to the ship’s sponsor, Kelly Sullivan, including a recent visit to Waterloo.
“I was back to Iowa in October to visit my mom and went up to see Kelly and see the museum,” the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. “I wanted to go do that. So she met me and gave me the tour. Saw the cemetery.”
The memorial markers for the brothers are in Calvary cemetery. He also visited the site of the brothers’ family home on Adams Street and Sullivan Park.
The Courier interviewed Scott during the 1997 commissioning. At that time he commented one of his favorite times of day was to have coffee on the fantail of the ship early or late in the day.
“That’s some of the stuff I miss. There’s nothing like being a sea and watching the sun come up, or seeing the moonlight on those waves. And the ship at night sounds so quiet. It’s just a calming thing. You go out there and gather your thoughts. It’s just nice having coffee out there. I would have never made a good submariner because they never would have let me on deck.”
“Well, you still have coffee on the deck in the morning, but now it stays in one place. Doesn’t move around a lot,” Kat quipped to him.