We have just received word that the Navy has confirmed December 3rd as the date for USS Colorado Christening. For those interested in attending please see the instructions below.
Welcome to USS Colorado (SSN-788) Commissioning Committee web site. USS Colorado (SSN-788) is the 15th Virginia Class submarine and is currently under construction at Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Ct. It is expected to be commissioned in the summer of 2017. The committee's purposes are to promote awareness within the state, provide support for the crew, and to help organize and raise money for the events surrounding commissioning.
The date for USS Colorado Christening is confirmed for December 3rd. Electric Boat has asked for input for those desiring an invitation to the event. Inputs are due to them before the end of the month, so if you would like an invitation, please complete the form by October 26th.
Once the list has been submitted to Electric Boat, the formal invitations will go out. You must respond to the formal invitation to gain admittance to the Christening.
The shipyard will have a reception after the Christening but space is very limited and only a few from Colorado will get to attend. The Commissioning Committee will be holding our own reception, but the details have not been finalized. We will send the information to those who indicate a desire to attend the Christening.
The latest visit of crew members from the PCU (pre-commissioning unit) Colorado was structured to take a different direction. On this trip two junior Culinary Specialists, CSSN’s Oyedolapo Oworu and Thomas Carswell, traveled the state working under the guidance of Chefs employed at the top 5 star resorts to learn Colorado cuisine. This was designed to add a unique personality to dishes prepared for the crew onboard the soon to be commissioned USS Colorado (SSN 788).
Throughout the visit the Chefs were heard to say “We want to teach basics that they can take out to sea, while sourcing food products that are generally available and approved through Navy supply channels”.
Factored into the thought process was the fact that 400 meals are prepared per day, 24 hours and day seven days a week. This is done with a team of seven Culinary Specialists led by a Chief Petty Officer…and in a galley measuring roughly 10 by 20 feet.
Throughout the week visits included the Four Seasons Resort, Vail; the Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, the Brown Palace, Denver; and Tom’s Urban in the lower downtown Denver entertainment district.
Not all events involved work as the crewmen were recognized during festivities at the Air Force/Navy football game and on the field as “Heroes of the Match” for the Colorado Rapids professional soccer team.
Projected in the Sailors’ manner was a pride of rating (training specialty), pride of being a Navy Sailor and submariner. “Cooking is more than a job, it’s an expression of creativity and an art form,” stated Seaman Oworu. This sense of pride does not come without superior leadership which is a cornerstone of U.S. Navy teamwork. This same uplifting style of leadership was observed throughout the various visits. The Chefs were noted for the respect they afforded all members of their staff. “Treat your employees as you would your guests,” was stated by Chef Johan Van Niekerk early in the visit, and observed throughout the week’s various events.
“In submarines where Sailors live in close quarters for months at a time, there are few distractions from their official duties. In this environment meals ARE morale”, stated Seaman Carswell, “They improve the ship’s ability to fight”.
This “namesake” crew visit provided high quality professional development and a bonding between the men and women of the U.S. Navy and many Coloradans. In summarizing the supporters who made this week such a resounding success, thanks go committee members Shauna and Yale King, Candice Green, Deb and Randy Zeller, Dan Puleio, and John and Florence Mackin.
Story by Committee Member and NRD Denver Public Affairs, Dan Puleio
USS Colorado Committee held their fund-raising Gala and Auction on September 17th at Charles Schwab’s Event Center at their new campus in Lone Tree. About 180 persons attended the event including the three visiting crew members.
The event opened with a cocktail hour at the hosted bar. The weather cooperated with a beautiful September day, allowing open access from the event center onto a terrace with spectacular views of the mountains. About 40 silent auction items were available for people to bid on. The Committee incorporated an on-line auction function that allowed persons not able to attend the Gala to bid on silent auction items.
The emcee for the evening was Steffan Tubbs, KOA morning show radio host and President of Mountain Time Media whose recent movie production ACRONYM: The Cross Generational Battle Withe PTSD focuses on this challenging problem facing many of our veterans. Steffan has been a great supporter of USS Colorado since the very beginning.
The event’s keynote speaker was Walter Borneman, historian and author ( www.walterborneman.net ). He is the author of the national bestseller The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King — The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea. His most recent book is MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific. He gave a compelling talk weaving in history of previous USS Colorado’s, submarine traditions and the future USS Colorado (SSN 788).
The Executive Officer, LCDR Stephen Col surprised the two crew members he brought with him by presenting them each with awards. STS1(SS) Michael McKenna was awarded Sailor of the Quarter for PCU Colorado and MMA2(SS) Eric Robinson was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for service while on temporary duty to USS Illinois (SSN 786).
In addition to donating use of their event center, Charles Schwab provided support in numerous ways. Fifteen volunteers from the company helped with the auction and merchandise sales throughout the evening. Individual Schwab employees were also participants in the event, purchasing tickets and tables, donating auction items and bidding both during the silent and live auction phases.
Scott Alexander of the Kildow Auction Company donated his time and expertise in conducting the live auction. There were ten items up for bid including a golf foursome at the private Sanctuary golf course, a two day John Fielder photo workshop, signed Broncos memorabilia, a special USS Colorado edition Kota Longboard, a special USS Colorado commemorative edition 44 magnum Henry rifle and a model of the submarine mounted on decking from the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) which saw action in WWII and was decommissioned in 1947.
We were honored to have many veterans present, including two WWII vets, Andy Palenchar and Sonny Coleman and a Korean War vet, Loyd Bates. Also in attendance was Broncos football legend Billy Thomson, a 13 year veteran with the team and a Ring of Fame honoree.
In addition to Sponsorship by Schwab we had some of our other sponsors present. Richmond American Homes Foundation, the presenting sponsor for Commissioning, was present and invited several veterans to join them. Left Hand Brewing once again supplied the beer for the event and Balistreri Vineyards supplied the wine.
A core group of committee members were instrumental in putting the event together, especially the Event Planner, Natalie Sanderson.
All in all it was a great evening, raising about $30,000 towards the Commissioning Committee’s goal.
For more pictures of the event visit here.
USS Colorado crew members Executive Officer Stephen Col, STS1(SS) Michael McKenna, and MMA2(SS) Eric Robinson paid a visit to Colorado in conjunction with the Committee’s Gala and Auction on September 17th. The three crew members arrived on Wednesday the 14th. That evening they visited the monthly meeting of Rocky Mountain Base of the Unites States Submarine Veterans organization where they were greeted warmly by the veterans. They talked with many of those present, including WWII submarine veteran, Andy Palenchar.
On Thursday they visited three NJROTC units in Colorado Springs at Doherty, Mesa Ridge and Widefield High Schools. They also visited NORTHCOM headquarter for lunch and a tour of the Command Center. They finished the day with a tour of Cogitic Corporation in Colorado Springs. The company is a precision manufacturer that makes critical parts for our submarines, including USS Colorado.
On Friday they started the day talking to an assembly of about 1500 students at Century Middle School in Thornton. During the school’s “Constitution Day” an enthusiastic group of students listened as the crew members discussed the technology involved with making today’s submarines operate and the importance of STEM education. For more information on this event see this article by Colorado Education Association.
From there they visited the Gallery of Sculptor George Lundeen in Loveland. He has been commissioned by the Battleship Colorado (BB 45) Association to create a special commemorative ship’s bell for SSN 788. There they were introduced to the sculptor’s work including the method for fabricating the ship’s bell.
For lunch they traveled to Estes Park to have lunch at the Stanley hotel with with Mayor Todd Jirsa, Town Commissioner Cody Walker and Retied Navy Captain Dick Life, a resident of Estes Park. A visit to Left Hand Brewing in the afternoon completed their schedule for the day.
Saturday before the Gala they had an opportunity to visit the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Since their flight on Sunday was not until 11:59 PM, they had were able to take in a Rockies game at Coors Field and be recognized on the field doing the 7th inning stretch. They invited Air Force veteran Jennifer Burch to join them on the field for the recognition.
It was another great visit by sailors from USS Colorado to the state. We are proud to be able to facilitate the out reach between the fine sailors of SSN 788 and the citizens and school children of Colorado.