African-American Skipper Makes History, Takes Command of USS Nathan Bedford Forrest G-Had July 23, 2012 Navy 20 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: NAVAL BASE KITSAP, WA – Captain Jay Henson made history today, becoming the first African-American officer to take command of the James Madison-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nathan Bedford Forrest (SSBN-744). The submarine is named after legendary Confederate cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest, widely regarded as one of the most brilliant soldiers in American history, but also controversial because of his involvement in the slave trade and his postwar role as the founder of the Ku Klux Klan. The change of command ceremony was held at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington State, home port of the Forrest. Captain Henson read from remarks prepared by the ship’s Public Affairs Officer (PAO). “Well I’ve been commanding a desk at the Pentagon for the past few years, so it’s great to be in command again, even if it is the old Nate, or as her crew likes to call her, the … um … the Grand Old Wizard of the Sea.” “I look forward to working with you all, especially since we’ve got a tough deployment ahead of us.” “Like her namesake, the crew of the Forrest has a take-no-prisoners attitude and they don’t see the world in black and white. With excitement burning, we cross from the normal routine of garrison to a tough few months as we patrol the Persian Gulf to protect our nation’s … precious … black … cargo.” At this Captain Henson paused to wipe the sweat off his brow. Glaring at his PAO and clenching his remarks, he continued. “Submarines are critical to winning the wars of today and tomorrow, allowing us to ‘git there the firstest with the mostest’, as General Forrest liked to say.” “And, like General Forrest also liked to say, ‘Don’t throw a rope over a tree until … you … can … hang … a — ALL RIGHT, THAT FUCKING DOES IT! EVERYBODY ON THE BOAT!” At this point Captain Henson decided to cut short his remarks after commenting that the PAO might “enjoy spending the voyage lashed to the periscope.” Aaron Samet says: April 16, 2014 at 1:24 AM Can’t wait to see how many idiots take this one seriously. Pretty sure there’ll be some, this comment notwithstanding… Erin Busic says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM Hahaha wow Michael Hasbun says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM One of the more creative posts =o). Warner Mobley says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM a typical stupid move by the navy to put a black man in command of the NBForrest. Joseph Ogershok says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM Not funny. Doc Bailey says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM Wouldn’t it be an Ohio? I think all the Madisons were decommissioned. Otherwise I laughed so hard I might’ve shit myself. John Clark says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM Actual story: The Navy’s first hispanic submarine CO was given command of the USS Cochino. So every time he crossed the brow, the topside watch called him a pig… Kirkland Dion Morris Jr says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM @Nelan: I think they did work in Ft Pillow, with the “take no prisoners” attitude bit. Jason D Sousley says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM The truest irony of this story is people who know much about Nathaniel Forrest will know he is probably one of the most maligned figures in american history. Terence Nelan says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM You couldn’t work in Fort Pillow? Also, just to nitpick ( because its all about the details) — Forrest never said ” git thar fustest with the mostest.” He probably said something like “Ma’am, I got there first with the most men.” In Bruce Catton’s book, The Civil War, on p160 he says: “Do not, under any circumstances whatever, quote Forrest as saying ‘fustest’ and ‘mostest’. He did not say it that way, and nobody who knows anything about him imagines that he did.” Anonymous says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM Great nose, Aaron. Worthy of a Samet. My Great Grandfather’s name was/is Anton Sammet. We’re Bavarian by heritage. San Francisco/Bay Area since 1898, I’m fourth generation. It is hilarious when people take this blog seriously. Why stop ‘em? It’s fun to watch people’s heads spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist… Jordan Nonegiven says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM FUCKIN HA! Taff Hughes says: December 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM The latest is that the ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest’ will be on exercise with a Royal Navy attack sub, HMS ‘Mosley’. Just4fun says: August 22, 2012 at 9:37 PM Thanks for setting the record straight. I thought Danzel Washington was the first African American Sub Commander. Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo says: August 20, 2012 at 8:19 PM Classic. john jennings says: July 25, 2012 at 12:51 AM what – no mention of ft pillow? LMAO Michael Hasbun says: July 23, 2012 at 10:42 AM LOL… THAT WAS GREAT… Old Ass Sarge says: July 23, 2012 at 9:52 AM Can’t burn a cross underwater….DIVE, DIVE, DIVE!!!