In speaking last week with State Rep Maureen Mooney, I learned New Hampshire was being bestowed with a great honor of having a Virginia Class submarine currently being built by Electric Boat Corporation in Groton, CT. named after our great state.
The USS New Hampshire (SSN-778) will be the 4th such time such an honor will have been given to our state. The first USS New Hampshire was commission by Congress April 29, 1816 and was one of "nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns each". The Second was BB-25, a battleship commissioned in 1908 then later scrapped in 1923. The third such ship BB-70 was to be a Montana class battleship and was authorized in 1940 but was canceled in 1943 before the keel was even laid.
This past May marked the "Keel laying" ceremony which back in the day marked the date they would lay out the keel or spine for the rest of the boat to be built around. Today since boat construction, especially that of submarines, is far different it simply marks the day all the various bits have been brought to a single location for final construction. This is the first of three ceremonies which will be held. The second will be the launch when the boat is actually placed in the water and the third and final will be when the crew is on board and it actually deports for the first time. The reports I've read expect that the launch will be some time next year.
Now I was actually a little surprised when Rep Mooney shared this news with me as I had heard nothing about it and haven't seen coverage in any of our local papers. I would think such an honor would garner much more attention then it has. In fact very little representation from our state even bothered to show at the first ceremony. Senators Gregg and Sununu have however taken some notice in that they have requested the final of the three ceremonies take place at our own Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I would hope to see a similar request and interest taken by our Governor and Congress Representatives as at this time I am unaware of any.
I find submarines very fascinating as my father worked for Electric Boat when I was younger granting me the privilege of actually attending a launching ceremony. Prior to that he had been stationed on the George Washington Carver submarine. So because of my interest I will try to keep everyone updated on news I hear about this great ship that will be bearing the name of our fine state. I hope to see equal interest taken by our representatives being as this is such a high honor.