Navy launches USS Colorado
“I christen thee USS Colorado! May God bless this submarine and all who sail in her.”
With those words, Annie Mabus on Saturday christened the Virginia Class attack submarine, smashing a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow.
The bottle of Balistreri Vineyards wine, from a Denver vintner, had been chilled before the ceremony in a bucket of water from the Colorado River.
The christening, in Groton, Conn., is intended to bring good luck to the USS Colorado and its crew — which will include 120 enlisted service member and 14 officers.
Annie Mabus is the daughter of U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. In recognition of her close connection with the U.S. Naval Academy, Annie Mabus is an honorary member of the Naval Academy’s 23rd Company.
Secretary Mabus said the christening was his last. Democratic President Barack Obama picked him to lead the Navy in 2009.
“I could not have picked a better boat, a better place, a better person to celebrate this final christening,” he said during the ceremony, which also included speeches from political leaders from Connecticut and neighboring Rhode Island, where builder Electric Boat does some of its work.
The Colorado is the fourth Navy ship to be named for the state. The first was a three-masted frigate launched at Norfolk Navy Yard in 1856. The most recent was a 1923-commissioned battleship that won seven battle stars during World War II.
“After the war, she was assigned to magic carpet duty and brought more than 6,000 veterans home to their families,” Secretary Mabus said.
He said the crew of the new submarine will be “the rightful heirs to the sailors who crewed the USS Colorado in World War II.”
In October, two culinary specialists assigned to the Colorado, Thomas Cars-well of Greenville, S.C., and Oyedolapo Oworu of Atlanta, visited several Front Range restaurants where they picked up local recipes including wild boar green chili, Texas tortilla soup, pimento cheese and Southern bacon chili. The two cooks will cook four meals a day for the crew while the sub is at sea, sometimes submerged for months at a time.
The USS Colorado , which cost $2.6 billion, is 377 feet long, has a maximum operating depth of 800 feet and displaces 7,800 tons of seawater.
The Colorado, an attack submarine, is capable of launching surface-to-air missiles. The nuclear-powered boat will not require refueling during its life, expected to be about 33 years. Its operational distances will be unlimited.