BIDDEFORD — The commander and crew of a submarine to be refurbished at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery are the latest recipients of a key to the city of Biddeford.

On Dec. 16, Mayor Alan Casavant presented a key to the city to Cmdr. Bret Grabbe, the commanding officer of the USS Alexandria.

In turn, Grabbe presented a plaque to Casavant.

The USS Alexandria is based in Groton, Connecticut, but while it is undergoing repairs and maintenance in Kittery, Biddeford is the host city for the ship and its crew.

The city has a long relationship with the shipyard, said Casavant, noting that many past and present residents have worked, or are currently working, there.

He said he’s proud that Biddeford is playing host to the USS Alexandria.

“It’s important,” said Casavant, “that sailors and officers have a place to call home when they’re away.”

He said the crew has already participated in some events in Biddeford, such as the local Veterans Day parade in November, and he hopes they will get more involved during the remainder of their stay.

Casavant said the crew should bring their families to visit the community and invited them to patronize the restaurants, shops and other local businesses.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done,” said Grabbe, when presenting the plaque on behalf of his crew to the mayor.

He said the ship and his crew members have been in Kittery for about a year.

They hope to do more with the city of Biddeford, said Grabbe.

“We’re looking forward to participating in the Memorial Day parade (in May) before we leave,” he said.

— Staff Writer Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 324 or [email protected]



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