John Bender / RIPR


Memorial Day marked the kickoff of Navy Week in Rhode Island. The event comes to cities across the U.S., but this is a first for the Ocean State, despite a long history with the Navy. East Greenwich (unofficially) touts itself as the birthplace of the American Navy, and Newport continues to be home to a naval station, and the Naval War College.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s morning host Chuck Hinman sat down with Capt. Dennis Boyer, commanding officer at Naval Station Newport to talk about the celebration and the Navy's role in Rhode Island, past and present.


The Navy is abandoning a plan to install wind turbines at Naval Station Newport.  Instead it is considering installing solar panels. 


Veterans are more complete citizens, I think.  We hold our country closer,  and we know our country better for having gotten on the bus and gone to boot camp and earned the right to train and fight, get scared and get drunk with the richest mix of Americans to be found anywhere.

I remember the farm kids and the ghetto kids and the kids gone to the Marines instead of prison.  I remember the kids like me who wanted to break from college-bred predictability and take a mad leap into the unknown.   Some of us were looking for our hard side and found we didn’t have one.

Aircraft Carrier In Newport To Be Scrapped

May 13, 2014

The Navy has announced that it will send an aircraft carrier that has been moored in Newport to Texas to be recycled into scrap metal. The USS Saratoga was decommissioned in 1994 after serving the Navy for thirty-eight years. Because a lack of local funding is preventing the ship from being turned into a museum, Chris Johnson of the Naval Sea Systems Command says that scrapping is a necessary course of action.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.

For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.


Submarine maker Electric Boat is expanding its presence in the state.

Electric Boat has signed a 25-year-lease that expands its footprint at the Quonset Business Park by 40 percent.   The company makes Virginia Class nuclear submarines for the Navy. The Navy recently doubled its order from one sub to two. Steve King, director of the Quonset Development Corporation which negotiated the lease, says the company will use the new space to accommodate the heavier workload.

Most of the civilian defense workers who were furloughed last week in Rhode Island because of the partial government shutdown are back to work. 

U.S. Senator Jack Reed says the 300 workers furloughed by the Rhode Island National Guard have been brought back.  The same goes for the 800 civilian defense workers who were furloughed at Naval Station Newport. Naval Station spokeswoman Lisa Rama said workers are glad to be back, even though they’re still not getting paid.

Operations at the Naval Station Newport are carrying on without hundreds of civilian workers caught up in the partial government shut down. The Naval Station Newport says about 800 civilians were furloughed. And over at the Naval War College, civilian instructors are staying home Wednesday and throughout the shutdown. Commander Carla McCarthy said that’s forced some classes to be suspended.

The former Naval reservist who killed at least 12 people in Washington, DC, yesterday visited Newport in August. Aaron Alexis told Newport police that he was hearing voices.

Two officers responded to the Marriott hotel on America’s Cup Avenue for a harassment incident at about 6:30 in the morning on August 7th. According to a police report, Alexis told the officers he was a naval contractor and travels often.

US Navy

Thousands of civilians who work for the Navy started taking unpaid furlough days this week as part of federal budget tightening known as “sequestration.” It’s affecting operations at the Naval Station Newport and 49 other facilities.

From this week through the end of September, some 4,200 civilian Navy employees will each take 11 furlough days. That’s a 20 percent pay cut for employees, said Naval Station Newport spokeswoman Lisa Woodbury Rama who took her first furlough day on Monday.

Ringleader of Navy Kickback Scheme Pleads Guilty

May 30, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

The architect of a scheme to defraud the U.S. Navy of millions of dollars has pleaded guilty to three felonies that could send him to prison for years. 

Ralph Mariano, a former civilian employee at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal government property, the theft of government property and tax evasion.  He faces up to 20 years in prison and $600,000 in fines at his sentencing September 5th.

Bay Swim Loses Navy Support

Apr 12, 2013

A fundraiser swim across Narragansett Bay is in jeopardy because of federal sequestration.  The environmental group Save the Bay says the Navy can no longer help host the summer event that’s been going on for more than 30 years in Newport.

The group still plans to hold the swim but says it’s facing financial challenges.  Save the Bay says they’ve lost at least million dollars in annual federal funding over the past few years.  Their Newport aquarium was also destroyed in Superstorm Sandy.