Navy launches USS Colorado

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Kieran Nicholson

“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.

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