USS Delaware to be christened

DOVER — The U.S. Navy on Saturday will christen a submarine named after the First State.

The USS Delaware SSN-791, a Virginia-class attack submarine, will have a ceremonial launching from Newport News, Virginia, with Delaware and military officials in attendance.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, who will be at the official ceremony, is holding three watch parties for interested persons. Livestreams of the event will be shown at Delaware Technical Community College Stanton Campus in Newark, Wilmington University’s auditorium in Dover and Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus in Georgetown.

The auditorium is located at 3282 N. DuPont Highway, Building A, and the Owens Campus party is in The Theater in Building 3, Arts & Science Center, at 21179 College Drive. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and the event takes place from 10 to 11:30.

The USS Delaware submarine’s logo.

The vessel will be the seventh U.S. naval ship to carry the Delaware name. After the Navy announced in 2012 it planned to name five new submarines after states that did not have any vessels representing them, Delaware’s congressional delegation urged military officials to adopt the Delaware name on the suggestion of a constituent.

“Just six months later, we had our answer: a state-of-the-art submarine – one of the most modern and technologically advanced in the world – would be named the USS Delaware, and a ship bearing our great state’s name would, once again, set sail to serve and protect U.S. interests at home and around the globe,” Sen. Carper wrote in 2016 after construction started.

“Delaware’s role in the U.S. Navy has come full circle—from a 24-gun sailing ship protecting Philadelphia from the British on the eve of our Independence, to one of the world’s most impressive vessels that can operate around the globe. It is a great source of pride and joy for me that we welcome the USS Delaware to our proud family.”

The USS Delaware is sponsored by Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, and will be commanded by Brian Hogan. The vessel was supposed to be christened Sept. 15, but the event was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.

The first U.S. ship to bear the Delaware name was built in 1776 and fought in the Revolutionary War before being captured by the British, while the last such vessel was decommissioned in 1923.

The Navy commissioned two Delaware-class battleships, Delaware and North Dakota, in 1910. The Delaware played a minor role in World War I but did not see any action. It was broken up for scrap in 1924.

Virginia-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarines were designed to handle a wide variety of missions and replace Seawolf- and Los Angeles-class subs. A Virginia-class sub carries a crew of 132 individuals and can travel at speeds of more than 25 knots.

Sixteen such subs are currently in service.

 

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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