The Navy started its relationship with the great state of Rhode Island way back during the American Revolution when Rhode Island-native Esek Hopkins became the only Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy on Jan. 5, 1776. The Navy’s first ship relating to the state was the Providence, a sloop originally named Katy but was renamed in December 1775. It was one of the first ships in Hopkins’s newly formed fleet. In 1861, the first Navy vessel named for the state was USS Rhode Island, a side-wheel steamer principally used as a supply ship. Other famous Rhode Islanders are Oliver Hazard Perry, the “Hero of Lake Erie” and namesake of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates; his nephew Matthew C. Perry, the father of the steam Navy and American representative who signed the Convention of Kanagawa, and Senator John Chafee, the 59th Secretary of the Navy. Today, two ships are named in honor of the state: the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), and Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine USS Providence (SSN 719), in addition to past ships named in the state’s honor.
To participate in Navy Week Rhode Island events, check out this website – http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2015/05/22/why-navy-history-matters-to-rhode-island/