It was anchors aweigh in Mountain Home yesterday evening at Mountain Home City Council thanks to a visit from the crew of the United States’ newest Virginia class submarine, the USS Arkansas (SSN-800).
USS Arkansas Commanding Officer Vincent “Adam” Kahnke and members of his crew stopped by during their tour of Mountain Home just in time to receive the keys to the city from Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams.
The crew of the USS Arkansas is in town this week to celebrate their adoption of Mountain Home Public Schools’ NJROTC program.
Kahnke accepted the key on behalf of the USS Arkansas. The key will rest inside the submarine during its upcoming 30 years of service to the United States Navy.
“Commander Hale reached out to us at the perfect time, because we were looking for somebody to partner up with for the submarine back in its home state of Arkansas,” said Commander Kahkne after accepting the key to the city. “It’s really Commander Hale’s enthusiasm that brought us out here, and we are really, really thrilled. We really appreciate the hospitality of Mountain Home High School and Mountain Home as a city.”
Commander Kahnke first began his naval career after enlisting as a Submarine Sonar Technician in 1993. In 1997, the young, enlisted sailor was accepted into the Navy’s BOOST program, where he would earn his commission.
During the program, Kahnke attended the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2001.
Upon his commissioning, Kahnke reported to the USS Alexandria (SSN 757), where he would serve in various roles of leadership. Following his time on the Alexandria, Kahnke would continue to serve through a full world deployment while serving in PACOM and the Mediterranean.
He would then serve as the Ship’s Navigator and Operations Officer on the USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) before becoming the Executive Officer of the USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740). Kahnke has also toured on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and worked in the office of Congressman Pete Visclosky.
In July 2021, Kahnke reported to DARPA as Service Chief Fellow.
Kahnke’s personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) along with various unit and service awards.
He and his wife share six children together.
“We really want to turn this into a mentorship engagement with Mountain Home and the NJROTC unit,” Kahnke said.
While City Hall was one of their last stops for the evening, Kahnke and his crew had a busy day touring each school campus in the Mountain Home School District. During the tour, the crew of the USS Arkansas fielded many questions throughout the day from students across each campus.
The highlight question of the day came from students at Hackler Intermediate, who asked if the USS Arkansas would win in a fight against a Megalodon. The crew of the Arkansas ensured students that their submarine would be able to beat the ferocious sea monster in a head-to-head battle.
Following their tour on campus, Kahnke and Master Chief Ross McCleallan, who serves as the Arkansas’s Chief of the Boat, spoke to local veterans at Dunbar Stadium before heading over to Bomber Stadium to watch Mountain Home Junior High’s football game.
While speaking at Dunbar stadium, Kahnke accepted a plaque from Curtis Grant of the Twin Lakes Base, U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. Grant covered the travel fees for members of the USS Arkansas through a donation to Mountain Home’s NJROTC program.
The crew of the Arkansas ended the evening by attending Mountain Home Public School’s regular school board session.
The crew will return to campus tomorrow to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mountain Home’s NJROTC program after taking a tour of the city with Mayor Adams in the morning. The crew will then head out to attend the Arkansas vs Mississippi game on Saturday before meeting with Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday.