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USS Idaho is the Navy’s latest nuclear submarine to be christened

The Navy has a new toy in the works.
Joshua Skovlund Avatar
The christening ceremony for the USS Idaho.
The christening ceremony for the USS Idaho. (U.S. Navy photo)

The USS Idaho (SSN 799) nuclear attack submarine was christened over the weekend. As the U.S. Navy’s 26th Virginia-class fast attack submarine, it is the fifth ship to receive the name of the Gem state. 

The christening ceremony occurred on Saturday at the General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut. While christening a ship is typically done with a bottle of sparkling wine, Idaho was christened with a bottle filled with water from several different Idaho lakes gathered by the submarine sponsor. 

“Commander Leslie, and [Chief of the Boat ] Master Chief Skipper, and the wonderful crew of the Idaho, my hat’s off, and my heart goes out to you for all your hard work leading up to today,” said the submarine’s sponsor, Terry Stackley. “But more importantly, to the days and weeks and months that follow to ensure that your boat, Idaho, is the gem of the fleet.”

Raised in a Navy family, she is a strong supporter of the Navy. She is the spouse of Sean Stackley, a former naval officer who served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition from 2008 to 2017. 

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The Idaho will now proceed to its final checks and testing before it can be commissioned for its official float-off ceremony. 

Idaho pays homage to the last ship commissioned under the name Idaho, a World War II battleship, BB-42, commissioned in 1919. It was later updated and sailed through several campaigns, protecting America’s west coast before supporting island operations before decommissioning it in July 1946

But the latest submarine’s christening doesn’t just pay tribute to the previous ships bearing the name. Its christening ceremony doubled as a call for more shipbuilders to carry out the work needed to maintain the fleet and bolster national security. Shipyards across the country are facing worker shortages, causing project delays. 

“We must as a nation do everything we can to continue expanding and strengthening our shipbuilding workforce. It is a noble calling,” said Vice President of Navy Programs at Newport News Shipbuilding, Bryan Caccavale. “As we find more shipbuilders to answer this call, our mission will remain building and delivering submarines unmatched in stealth and strength. Our sailors’ lives depend on it, and it is a responsibility we do not take lightly.”

The Virginia class fast-attack nuclear submarines were first created in 2004. They are built to operate in littoral and deep waters during a variety of warfare scenarios, including anti-submarine, anti-surface ship, strike, and special operations forces support. 

These submarines have a reconfigurable torpedo room that can accommodate a large number of special operations personnel and their equipment for lengthy deployments. The submarine’s large lockout truck (LOT) gives plenty of room for divers to launch directly from the submarine. 

The submarine’s design makes it easy to refit it with the latest technology and enhancements, helping it stand up against the test of time. 

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