A South Dakota Native has taken command of the Navy's newest warship. The USS Cincinnati combat ship was commissioned last week in Gulf Port, Mississippi. Jebedia Kloppel, a 1996 graduate of Spearfish High School, is the ship's new commander. Kloppel says his highest goal when he joined the Navy was to become captain of a warship, so to reach that goal is amazing. He credits the sailors with whom he works. The crew includes about 70 sailors and officers.
Kloppel says that the ship's primary focus is locating and disposing of mines manned and unmanned resources. Recently, several cargo ships were damaged in the Persian Gulf by mines allegedly placed by Iranian assets.
“Our ship motto ‘strength and unity’ is also the motto of our namesake city,” said Kloppel. “It’s the strength and unity that makes Cincinnati great. It’s the strength and unity that makes this crew great and if USS Cincinnati is called into harm’s way, through strength and unity, Cincinnati would win.”