USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) Christened

Ship Sponsors Alicia J. Petersen (left) and D’Arcy Neller (right) christen DDG 121, the destroyer named for Petersen’s late husband, Frank E. Petersen Jr. Also pictured (left to right) are retired Gen. Alfred Gray, former commandant of the Marine Corps and keynote speaker at the christening; Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; and Gen. Robert Neller, the 37th commandant of the Marine Corps. (Photo by Derek Fountain/HII)


(Article originally appears courtesy of Marine Link)

U.S. shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the guided missile destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121), the 71st in the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class of destroyers and the 33rd built by Ingalls.

DDG 121 honors Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr., who was the Marine Corps’ first African-American aviator and the service’s first African-American general. After entering the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1950, Petersen would go on to fly more than 350 combat missions throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Approximately 900 guests attended the ceremony, including Alfred Gray, a retired general and former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, who was the keynote speaker. “We’re here to honor a great American, a great ship and a great shipyard as well,” Gray said. “Frank is the person who really gave all of the people that you’ve met here today their inspiration to go forward, to be tough about everything, to be disciplined and to never forget that above all, you’re a Marine warrior. It is that kind of spirit and that kind of belief that we honor today by naming this great ship Frank E. Petersen Jr.”

“We are here to christen this ship to the life and service of a true pioneer in the Navy and Marine Corps, Frank Petersen,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. “The USS Petersen is now a reality, and it is a ship that will be in service to our nation for decades to come. DDGs play a vital role, not only in the Navy and defense of the United States, but for our allies around the world. To the shipbuilders, we really appreciate your efforts, skill, professionalism and hard work in building this ship. Thank you so much for that.”

DDG 121 is co-sponsored by Alicia Petersen, widow of the ship’s namesake, and D’Arcy Neller, wife of Gen. Neller. Together, Petersen and Neller officially christened the ship by breaking two bottles of sparkling wine across its bow.

Petersen spoke on behalf of both sponsors at the ceremony: “Our family has been in Pascagoula for about two days now, and the love and friendship that we have felt from everyone has been so contagious,” she said. “We believe that you are our family now and feel so happy that Frank’s ship is here in your home being built under the wonderful leadership of Ingalls. Ingalls not only does great work, but they take great pride in its ownership.”

Over the course of 30 years, Ingalls has built and delivered 30 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The shipyard currently has five DDGs under construction, including Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), the first Flight III ship, which started fabrication in May. Ingalls was recently awarded a $5.1 billion multi-year procurement contract to build six more destroyers.

“All Ingalls ships are built for men and women like General Petersen with one goal in mind: to protect the brave Americans who defend our freedom, and Frank E. Petersen Jr., the ship, will be no exception,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President, Brian Cuccias. “Today, alongside our Navy partners and the leadership of the great State of Mississippi, we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in modernizing our facilities. Combine that with a hot production line and our talented and experienced shipbuilders, and we are uniquely positioned to provide our country with the highest quality, most capable destroyers in the world. Simply stated, Ingalls builds the finest warships the world has ever known—right here in Pascagoula, Mississippi.”

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USS Indiana (SSN 789) Commissioned in Port Canaveral, Florida

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2018) USS Indiana’s (SSN 789) chief of the boat, Senior Chief Charles Simonds; the submarine’s sponsor, Diane Donald; and the commanding officer, Capt. Jesse Zimbauer, render honors during Indiana’s commissioning ceremony. Indiana is the U.S. Navy’s 16th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine and the third ship named for the State of Indiana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)


(Article originally appears courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (NNS) — USS Indiana, the third submarine to bear the name and third vessel to be named for the state, was brought to life by its sponsor, Diane K. Donald, wife of retired Adm. Kirkland Donald, the former director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion and commander, Submarine Forces, Sept. 29, 2018. Before giving the order to bring the ship to life, Indiana’s sponsor had a few words to impart to those in attendance and any potential future adversaries.

“Today we celebrate the time-honored tradition of placing USS Indiana into the service of our country. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to have a role in bringing this ship to life,” Donald said, addressing the crowd and ship’s company during the ceremony. “To anyone who wishes our nation harm, take heed, Indiana is taking the watch. Our new silent victors are Indiana strong.”

As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, the submarine can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments, and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities. Indiana is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of Special Operations Forces (SOF), strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and mine warfare.

“I owe everything to my crew,” said Capt. Jesse Zimbauer, commanding officer of Indiana, to those in attendance. “We have over 5,000 people in attendance today. You wouldn’t be out here if you didn’t have a lethal dose of patriotism. You cannot take a look at those Sailors dressed in their whites, standing on the backbone of the world’s newest and most lethal submarine and not just stand up and cheer!”

Indiana is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the boat to reduce acquisition costs. Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities. While the crew of the submarine may only be 140, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb indicated that the “whole” crew may not fit on board.

“So, as you are serving on this boat, know that your crew is a lot bigger than you may think. In fact, I’d like to say that this crew is 6.6 million strong. Because there are, in fact, 6.6 million Hoosiers who are proud of this USS Indiana. We are proud of and pray for every Sailor that makes up this crew.”

After the ceremony, Indiana was opened up for tours to the general public, to include the crew’s mess, the wardroom, control, and the torpedo room. It is there perhaps that the words of the Director of Naval Reactors, Adm. J. Franklin Caldwell, Jr. stuck home to the thousands who wouldn’t normally step foot inside a nuclear-powered submarine.

“USS Indiana, and her sisters of the Virginia class, will maintain our edge in the undersea environment,” said Caldwell as he addressed the attendees. “Soon Indiana will deploy her stealth, endurance and her flexibility to travel silently under our oceans protecting our nation. She will be collecting intelligence, preparing for battle, and, if necessary, striking from the deep without notice to defend our nation.”

Indiana also has special features to support Special Forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of personnel and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads.

Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms, which are maneuvered by an Xbox controller. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.

While USS Indiana may be the newest and most technologically advanced submarine in the world, to some, all the metal, tubes, wires and reactor are just machinery.

“The crew make up the soul of Indiana,” said Senior Chief Charles Simonds, Indiana’s chief of the boat. “Every single challenge this crew has been faced with, and there have been many over the past several months, has been dealt with extremely well. The crew are extremely proficient, extremely confident Sailors who know how to operate the submarine and I’d say that these guys are ready to go execute our nation’s missions right now, and that is a lot to say for a new crew, and that makes me very proud and extremely fortunate to be a part of this team.”

SSN-789 was built at Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia, and is 7,800 tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet and operates at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that does not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

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USS Kansas City (LCS 22) Christened

Tracy Davidson christens USS Kansas City (LCS 20) (Photo by Austal USA)


(Article originally appears courtesy of Austal USA)

MOBILE, Ala. – Austal USA proudly hosted the christening of the nation’s 22nd Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Kansas City, at its state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility today.  Kansas City is the eleventh of 17 Independence-variant LCS Austal USA has under contract with the U.S. Navy.

“Today marks a significant milestone with the christening of this amazing warship,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle.  “Our talented shipbuilding team is proud to provide our Navy with an extraordinarily capable vessel that will honor Kansas City as she becomes an integral part of the U.S. naval fleet protecting our nation.”

The ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Tracy Davidson, wife of Admiral Philip S. Davidson, USN, Commander, United States Indo-Pacific Command, headlined the group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members, and Austal USA employees who attended the ceremony beneath the hull of the ship in Austal USA’s final assembly bay.

“We are honored to host Mrs. Davidson as the ship’s sponsor,” continued Perciavalle. “No one other than an Admiral’s wife, especially one so active in the Navy community, would be better suited for this important role to the ship and her crew.”

A native of Missouri with a degree from Southern Methodist University, Tracy is currently living in their 22nd house since marrying Admiral Davidson.  She is an active Navy spouse who has volunteered with family readiness groups, been an Ombudsman, served on support group boards, and mentored the Command Leadership Class. Her recent positions include: the Advisor to the Tidewater Officer Spouses Association (TOSA), Tidewater Collection, Surface Officers Spouses (SOS), and Continuum of Resource Education (CORE), four military support organizations in Norfolk.

The Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship is a high-speed, agile, shallow draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed to conduct Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Mine Countermeasures missions in the littoral region.  With its open architecture design, the LCS can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to capture and sustain littoral maritime supremacy.

Austal delivered Charleston (LCS 18) in the end of August, the third Independence-variant LCS delivered to the Navy this year.  In addition to the future USS Kansas City, four more Independence-variant LCS are currently under construction, including Cincinnati (LCS 20), Oakland (LCS 24), Mobile (LCS 26) and Savannah (LCS 28) with construction on Canberra (LCS 30) scheduled to begin in early 2019.  The future LCS 32 and 34 were awarded on September 18, 2018, and will begin pre-production activities.

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USS Manchester (LCS 14) Commissioned

PORTSMOUTH, NH (May 26, 2018)
The crew of the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Manchester (LCS 14) man the rails during the ship’s commissioning ceremony after the ship’s sponsor, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) gives the traditional order to ‘man this ship and bring her to life.’ Manchester is the 12th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the seventh of the Independence variant. The ship is named for the city of Manchester, New Hampshire and is assigned to Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob I. Allison/RELEASED)


(Article originally appears courtesy of Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE)

The littoral combat ship USS Manchester (LCS 14) was commissioned as the Navy’s newest surface combatant in a ceremony in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, May 26.

The Independence-variant LCS is the Navy’s second ship to be named for the city of Manchester, New Hampshire.

“The faces of the Sailors that ran to man this ship are the faces that I’ve seen day after day for the last 22 months as we worked to bring this ship to life,” said Cmdr. Emily Basset, Manchester’s commanding officer and a Seattle, Washington native. “They took the city of Manchester’s motto – work conquers – and they have personified the spirit of our namesake city. Each Sailor is highly trained and must do the duties that three or four would do on another ship. These Sailors are reasons to make us all proud.”

The ship’s sponsor, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), gave the traditional order to, “Man this ship and bring her to life,” signaling the Sailors to embark and officially begin the ship’s service as a U.S. Navy ship.

For the ship’s crew, the day was the culmination of months’ worth of work to get the Manchester prepared for commissioning, and having the commissioning in the ship’s namesake state was a special opportunity for some of Manchester’s Sailors.

“It’s really amazing to be on a ship named for [a city in] my home state,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Laryssa Noyes, from Derry, New Hampshire. “It’s really quite an honor that I’m here for this. It’s awesome because my family got to be here and see what I do on a daily basis.”

After the ceremony the ship will transit to San Diego to join Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One (COMLCSRON ONE) and eight other LCS currently homeported at Naval Base San Diego.

Manchester is the 12th littoral combat ship and the seventh of the Independence variant.

The littoral combat ship is a high speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatant designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCS has the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants. Paired with advanced sonar and mine hunting capabilities, LCS provides a major contribution, as well as a more diverse set of options to commanders, across the spectrum of operations.

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Navy Christens USS Cincinnati (LCS 20)

The ship’s sponsor, Penny Pritzker — 38th U.S. Secretary of Commerce, christened the new ship. (Austal USA photo)


(Article originally appeared courtesy UPI)

The U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship was christened over the weekend in a ceremony in Mobile, Ala.

The USS Cincinnati, an Independence-class littoral combat ship, becomes the 11th ship built by Austal USA as part of the LCS program.

Cincinnati councilman and former member of the U.S. Congress, David Mann, spoke at the christening, and former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker served as the ship’s sponsor. Pritzker broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow in keeping with time-honored Navy traditions.

“The future USS Cincinnati is a symbol of the strong connection between the people of Cincinnati and the Navy and Marine Corps team,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a press release.

“The ship serves as a testament to our commitment to growing the Fleet and our partnership with industry and the American public,” said Spencer.

The Independence-variant littoral combat ship is a high-speed, shallow draft, surface warfare ship designed to conduct anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasure missions.

The U.S. Navy has contracted Austal USA to build 15 littoral combat ship worth a combined cumulative value of more than $4.5 billion.

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USS Portland (LPD 27) Commissioned

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 21, 2018) Visitors cheer as the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) comes to life during a commissioning ceremony in Portland, Ore. Portland is the U.S. Navy’s 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, third ship to bear the name Portland and the first ship to be named solely for Oregon’s largest city. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Steven Tran/Released)


(This article appears courtesy Navy.mil)

PORTLAND, Ore. — As medals adorning their chests clang with each running step, Sailors rush past the brow to man their vessel.

During an official commissioning ceremony held in front of over 5,000 guests, the crew of the USS Portland (LPD 27) brought their ship to life in Portland, Oregon, April 21.

The Honorable Patrick Shanahan, Deputy Secretary of Defense, officially placed the Portland in commission, the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship to join the Navy’s operational fleet.

“The City of Roses has a ship worthy of its creative spirit and industrious heritage,” proclaimed Shanahan. “The acceptance trials are over and her officers and crew are ready. Wherever her flag flies, in foreign ports, on the high seas, in weather fair or foul, this ship will carry the spirit of this city on the Columbia River.”

While addressing the audience, Shanahan emphasized the importance behind the naming of the Portland, while touching upon the history of the first two ships to carry the name ‘Portland’.

“This is the first ship to be named exclusively for Portland, Oregon,” said Shanahan. “Her officers and crew will write the next chapter, and do so with pride. This ship will carry our power and goodwill anywhere they are needed.”

Since departing Pascagoula, Miss. the ship and her crew have sailed 9,930 nautical miles, conducted a crossing the line ceremony, and sailed through the historic Panama Canal on their way to their designated homeport of San Diego.

“Since Dec. 1775, commissioning ceremonies have been an honored Naval tradition celebrating, accepting, and welcoming a new ship into the fleet,” said Capt. J. R. Hill, Portland’s commanding officer. “When USS Portland was brought to life during today’s ceremony, I was humbled as I thought back to the dedication and passion the crew demonstrated throughout our journey to this culminating moment.”

Speaking on behalf of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson, deputy CNO Vice Adm. Dixon Smith went down memory lane, recalling the history of the Oregon Shipyard, which during the height of World War II launched 24 ships in only 30 days.

“The USS Portland has joined the ever growing list of reasons for Portlanders to be proud,” said Smith. “The men and women of this crew come from all across the nation and will soon sail, perhaps into harm’s way, to keep us safe here at home.”

Upon conclusion of the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the 684-foot war fighting vessel, where they could experience the state of the art design that will continue to sail decades from today with future generations of Sailors and Marines aboard.

Portland’s motto, ‘First Responders, Brave and Determined’ made having the ceremony in Portland — with the city’s first responders present — even more meaningful for all in attendance,” said Hill.

Prior to commissioning, Portland underwent multiple phases to prepare her join the fleet.

The ship’s formal recognition of transition from concept to reality began Aug. 2, 2013 at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding during the keel laying ceremony when the ship’s sponsor, Bonnie Amos, engraved her name upon a plaque, as a symbol authenticating the keel.

A mast stepping ceremony was then held May 20, 2016. This time-honored Naval tradition symbolizes the moment a shell becomes a ship, and her crew honors that tradition by placing mementos into a time capsule for future Portland Sailors to discover.

Portland was officially launched May 21, 2016 after a ceremonial christening was held Feb. 13, 2016.

Today, Portland boasts a heavy arsenal of capabilities beneath the hood. Amphibious transport dock ships are versatile players in maritime security with the ability to support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Group (ARGs), Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESGs), or Joint Task Forces (JTFs). In addition to performing their primary mission, the San Antonio-class ships support anti-piracy operations, provide humanitarian assistance, and foreign disaster relief operations around the world.


View the Commissioning Ceremony

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USS Indianapolis (LCS 17) Christened in Wisconsin

Ship sponsor Jill Donnelly breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow during the christening ceremony for the nation’s 17th Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Indianapolis, at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard on April 14. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)


(Article appears courtesy Lockheed Martin/PRNewsWire)

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team hosted the christening ceremony for the 17th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard today.

Ship sponsor Jill Donnelly christened LCS 17, the future USS Indianapolis, in Navy tradition by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship’s bow.

“As a native Hoosier and the daughter of two World War II veterans, there is no greater honor than to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Indianapolis,” Donnelly said. “This ship pays tribute to the legacy of brave and resilient sailors, and I know the people of Indianapolis – and all Hoosiers – will support this ship and her future crews for decades to come.”

The future USS Indianapolis is named in honor of the incredibly brave men and women in uniform who have served our country for generations and who continue to serve today. LCS 17 will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the Indianapolis name. She will undergo additional outfitting and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before her anticipated delivery next year.

“The Freedom-variant LCS is flexible and capable, and plays a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s fleet,” said Joe DePietro, vice president, Small Combatants and Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin. “With an active production and testing, we are committed to delivering Indianapolis and her highly capable sister ships into combatant commanders’ hands quickly.”

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS Indianapolis is one of eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production.

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. The LCS is the Navy’s most affordable surface combatant shipbuilding program.

The Freedom-variant’s steel monohull design is based on a proven, resilient design recognized for its stability and reliability.


USS Indianapolis Launch


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USS Colorado (SSN 788) Commissioned

180317-N-JE719-692
GROTON, Conn. (March 17, 2018) USS Colorado (SSN 788) Ship Sponsor, Annie Mabus delivers remarks to attendees and crew during the boat’s commissioning ceremony. Colorado is the U.S. Navy’s 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and the second ship fourth ship named for the State of Colorado. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)


(This article originally appeared courtesy U.S. Navy)

By Commander, Submarine Forces Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) — Colorado is the first submarine to bear the name and third vessel to be named for the state and was brought to life by her sponsor, Annie Maybus Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

“To the crew of USS Colorado, this is your day” said Mabus, addressing the crowd and ship’s company during the ceremony. “The commissioning crew truly does bring life to the boat. The pride I feel for the crew of this boat knows no bounds.”

As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, the submarine can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities.

“This is an amazing group of Sailors that are outfitted here. Every day we are doing something new for the first time. Just in the time that I’ve been here, I’ve watch the team transform into a high performance team that is able to operate the Navy’s newest and most capable war fighting ship at sea, in the harsh ocean environments, ready to carry out our mission,” said Cmdr. Reed Koepp II, Colorado’s commanding officer, as he underscored the boat’s most important asset: the crew. “I have seen them achieve greatness in qualifications and I have seen them build to a level of experience and expertise, ready to start executing the nation’s missions and get through our initial tactical certifications and engineering readiness.”

Colorado is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of Special Operations Forces (SOF), strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare.

Colorado is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Colorado features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

After the ceremony, Colorado was opened up for tours to the general public, to include the crew’s mess, the wardroom, control, and the torpedo room.

“Our submarines are in high demand today and the expectations for Colorado are a mile high,” said Director of Naval Reactors, Adm. J. Franklin Caldwell, Jr. as he addressing the attendees. “In her lifetime, Colorado will travel thousands of miles undetected to protect our nation and our interests around the globe. We cannot begin to imagine all the missions that she will do and all of the places she will sail, but we do know that Colorado’s stealth, her endurance, her combat power, and her speed will ensure that our Navy remains in control of the undersea domain.”

Colorado also has special features to support Special Forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of personnel and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads.

“We are very proud to represent the great state of Colorado and we are very excited for the future of the ship,” said Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col. “I can honestly say I have the greatest job in the Navy.”

Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms, which are maneuvered by a Xbox controller. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture, and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia-class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.

“I couldn’t be more proud and honored to serve with and for the crew,” said Koepp. “The Colorado is a gem of an assignment for any submariner, whether you are a first-term, junior Sailor or you are the commanding officer. I couldn’t be more proud to lead and serve with the crew.

SSN 788 was built at Electric Boat in Groton, Conn and is 7,800 tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet and operates at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that does not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

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USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) Commissioned

USS Ralph Johnson Commissioning (Defense Media Activity-Navy Production)


(This article originally appeared courtesy Charleston Post and Courier)

By Gregory Yee (Post and Courier)

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott stood atop the deck of the massive gray warship docked in Charleston Harbor on Saturday morning and asked members of the crowd to transport themselves back to 1968 — a time of social strife amid the civil rights movement.

Out of that period and out of Charleston, a city with its own history of racial issues, comes a singular story: that of Pfc. Ralph Johnson, a Marine who was killed in Vietnam after jumping on a grenade that landed in his fighting hole, Scott said. His actions cost him his life but saved two fellow Marines and earned him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration.

“Ralph began a legacy that should last through eternity,” he said.

Scott, R-S.C., was among several speakers at a commissioning ceremony for the USS Ralph Johnson, the Navy’s newest destroyer. A crowd of about 6,000 gathered to watch as the ship officially came on duty for the first time.

During the ceremony, many spoke about Johnson’s sacrifice and the legacy that the 19-year-old left after he dove belly-first onto the grenade and shouted a warning to others.

“I am proud to serve a city that could produce such an extraordinary man,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg told the crowd.

Helen Richards, Johnson’s sister, said she and her family are honored to have the ship named after their relative and said two of his grandnieces and a niece are currently serving active duty in the military. Another niece retired from the Air Force.

“It was stated that the crew takes on the spirit of the namesake, which I personally witnessed upon the embarkment of the (USS Ralph) Johnson,” Richards said. “On behalf of the Johnson family, we are both inspired and forever grateful for the generosity of love shown toward us.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford said Johnson’s sacrifice should prompt all who know of his story to look at themselves and ask, “How then do I live?”

“He was from us but above us,” Sanford, R-S.C., said. “He lived a life that was beyond himself.”

The 509-foot warship is the Navy’s 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. It carries two helicopters, missiles, torpedoes and up to 338 crew members. Its top speed is 35 mph.

Gen. Robert Neller, Marine Corps commandant, spoke about the ship’s capabilities and how it will carry on the spirit of bravery exemplified by Johnson.

“This ship was designed to fight,” Neller said. “It’s here to go fast and in harm’s way, and that’s what we expect. … As long as we have citizens like Ralph Johnson, we’re going to be just fine.”

     

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    USNS Burlington (T EPF 10) Christened

    Marcelle Leahy Christens the USNS Burlington (YouTube)


    (This article originally appeared courtesy WKRG News)

    Marcelle Leahy breaks a bottle over the newest ship named for the largest city in Vermont.  She’s the ship’s sponsor and the wife of longtime Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy.  Senator Leahy says he’s proud of the new ship.

    “We spend a lot on our military and we want them prepared for the threats of today not from yesterday and this gives us a lot of flexibility it can also be a vessel in rescue operations,” said Senator Leahy.  Austal is contracted to build at least two more EPFs.  Friday President Trump also had a special announcement for Austal in Mobile.  Friday Trump announced the name of the latest LCS.  The USS Canberra, which will eventually be built in Mobile, is named after Australia’s capital city.

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