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 late 2016/early 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.
Four Crewmembers of USS Colorado (SSN 788) will visit the state Saturday 28 May through Thursday 2 June to participate in various presentations and athletic events. We are fortunate to have TWO Coloradans among them: Lt. (junior grade) Mike Nielson from Arvada and Yeoman Chief Petty Officer Joshua Erikson from Fort Collins. Events will include:
- Denver Outlaws Hero of the Game on-field recognition during the Saturday 28 May 6:30 pm game
- A special Colorado flag raising ceremony at the State Capitol. This flag will then be carried to all other events. This is followed by wreath laying ceremonies at the Battleship USS Colorado Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol and USS Grayling Memorial at Slone’s Lake Park, at 9 and 11 am respectively, Sunday 29 May
- Bolder BOULDER 10K Navy Formation Run, “P Wave” and recognition in the CU Boulder football stadium, Memorial Day 30 May
- Colorado Rockies Hero of the Game on-field recognition during the Monday 30 May 2:10 pm game
School talk at Widefield HS followed by a Cog Railway trip to the top of Pike’s Peak (inspirational source for Zebulon Pike’s God Bless America), Tuesday 31 May
- Denver Mint tour followed by a visit to renowned Colorado nature photographer, John Fielder’s gallery. (Fielder is donating artwork to adorn the common areas of the submarine.), Wednesday 1 June
- Special guest invitation to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation. Keynote speaker, President Obama, Thursday 2 June
All Coloradans should be particularly proud to have a capitol ship of the United States Navy named after our great State. The last ship to bear the name USS Colorado was a highly decorated WWII Battleship BB-45, commissioned in 1923, over 90 years ago.
On May 10th, Left Hand Brewing started brewing the first batch of USS Colorado’s “Pride Runs Deep” beer. Committee Members Tom Ramar, Dan Puleio, and JJ and Forence Mackin were on hand as Left Hand’s Marketing Director, Sarah Watson, and VP of Brewing Operations, Joe Schiraldi, explained the brewing process and observed the first batch being made. The beer will be an India Pale Ale with Colorado Blue Spruce pine tips. The beer will be ready for distribution at the end of June and will be distributed in both Colorado and Connecticut. We will publish more about it’s distribution when it is known.Left Hand is planning to make it available in bottles and on draft. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to the Committee to support Commissioning and the Crew.
Executive Officer LCDR Stephen Col along with ETR1 (SS) Kurt O’Donnell, MA2 (SS) Jason Lawrence and EMN2(SS) Luke O’Day from PCU Colorado visited Colorado from April 6 through the 8th. During their visit they visited several schools, met with the Governor’s Chief of Staff, visited the Olympic Training Center and attended a reception in their honor at Balistreri Vineyards.
The crew members arrived on Tuesday April 5th and were met at DIA by the airport’s Chief Financial Officer, Gisela Shanahan and members of the Committee.
On Wednesday the crew traveled to Colorado Springs first stopping by Garden of the Gods and then visiting Harrison High School ROTC and Pikes Peak Prep Charter School K-12 . They then went on a tour of the Olympic Training Center where they met Olympic boxer Ginny Fuchs. In the evening they attended Colorado Springs Navy League Council meeting and dinner.
On Thursday the crew visited Overland High School and George Washington High School and visited the Colorado Freedom Memorial and Battleship Colorado Memorabilia at the Naval Reserve Center at Buckley AFB. In the afternoon they visited the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Doug Friednash, and then received a special tour of the Colorado State Capitol.
Friday started with a visit to Campus Middle School before going to Coors Field to participate in the opening day ceremonies for the Rockies. In the evening they attended a reception in their honor at Balistreri Vineyards. About 160 persons came to meet with the sailors. Steffan Tubbs or KOA Radio was the emcee for the evening. Retired Vice Admiral Jay Donnelly was our guest speaker and showed slides and discussed the new construction process. There was a birthday cake and a toast to celebrate the Submarine Birthday. Noted Colorado landscape photographer John Fielder gave a presentation discussing the donation of his photography to decorate common areas of the boat. A silent and live auction generated about $7,000 for the committee. Overall it was a great evening.
In a meeting Friday, April 1 (no fooling!) nationally-acclaimed Colorado nature photographer John Fielder met with USS Colorado SSN 788 Commissioning Chairman John “J.J.” Mackin, and Vice Chair, Dick Cooper, in his Denver gallery to discuss his support to improve the living environment for the crew on USS Colorado, which is due to be commissioned in Groton, CT in 2017.
John is supplying the scenic photography to grace locker fronts in the crew’s mess; a major improvement over the wood-grain plastic laminate normally supplied in construction. In addition, Mr. Fielder donated a signed copy of Colorado 1870-2000, to be auctioned at the April 8 event at Balistreri Vineyards. He will discuss the project at this event. If you would like to attend this event and hear about the project and have a chance to bid on his fabulous book visit the event page.
This month PCU Colorado passed her Pressure Hull Complete milestone. That means that all the hull sections have been welded together and the boat will be ready for the water soon. The picture below shows the boat in the construction hall. The enclosures around the hull surround the area where the welds were completed and will be removed soon. Photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat.
COLORADO Pressure Hull Complete