Saturday, September 30, 2023

Battleship Wisconsin to celebrate birthday with Nashville country music star

NORFOLK — How does a battleship celebrate its 74th birthday?  By hosting an award-winning musician from Nashville, that’s how.

Celeste Kellogg, a country music singer and native of Suffolk, will shoot a music video for her song, “Country Swagger” onboard the Battleship Wisconsin on Monday. That day will also mark the 74th anniversary of the ship’s commissioning.

This is the first music video to be produced onboard the Wisconsin, according to Beth Bilderback, a spokeswoman for the Battleship Wisconsin. The Wisconsin was also the last battleship built by the Navy. The ship served during World War II, the Korean War and the first Persian Gulf War.

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“I’m so honored and excited to be working with Nauticus and the Wisconsin” Kellogg said. “I was asked to do this video everywhere from Nashville to LA.  But I wanted to do it at home so I could represent the area that’s always supported me.”

Stephen E. Kirkland, executive director of Nauticus, tied the production of Kellog’s music video to music that was listened to during WWII.

“This is another terrific opportunity for us to broaden awareness and showcase this iconic vessel,” Kirkland said.  “Battleship sailors were listening to Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland in 1944.  Seventy-four years later, we’re proud to celebrate the ship’s birthday by hosting this talented, young musician.”

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The Wisconsin served in the Pacific Theater of World War II, where she shelled Japanese fortifications and screened United States aircraft carriers as they conducted air raids against enemy positions.

The battleship shelled North Korean targets in support of ground operations during the Korean War, after which she was decommissioned. She was reactivated on Aug. 1, 1986, according to the Navy; after a modernization program, the Wisconsin participated in Operation Desert Storm in January and February 1991. The Wisconsin arrived at Nauticus on Dec. 7, 2000.

Kellog chose the Wisconsin not only because she grew up in Hampton Roads, but also because of the patriotic and rural themes of her music.

“‘Country Swagger’ has a double meaning,” Kellog said. “It’s about the country lifestyle we live, as well as the men and women who have given us the freedom to live that lifestyle.”

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