Today our Committee has started publishing a recurring newsletter. Our intention is to provide periodic updates about our activities as well as news about the ship’s construction and the crew. We will be sending the newsletter out via email.
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.
At the gracious invitation of the Chairman of the North Dakota Commissioning Committee, three members of our Committee, John (JJ) Mackin, Dick Cooper and John O’Donnell were able to attend the commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA on October 25th and the associated festivities. On Friday evening we attended the Chairman’s Reception. There were about 400 persons in attendance. They had an excellent sit down dinner. A major purpose of this event is to acknowledge supporters who contributed including both contractors and private citizens. It is customary to exchange gifts between the various parties. The ship’s sponsor presented a picture to the ship as gift which will hang onboard during the ship’s career. Their Committee Chairman was highly successful in creating a North Dakota atmosphere with a mens chorus singing patriotic songs and with an actor playing as a Teddy Roosevelt impressionist, emphasizing the state’s ties to the former President.
After the Southeast Connecticut area endured a Nor’easter earlier in the week, the sun came out on Saturday to make it a beautiful, sunny 65 degree day for the Commissioning Ceremony. It is estimated that there were some 2400 persons in attendance, about 400 of those from North Dakota. The ceremony took about an hour and a half. The principal speaker was the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Jonathan Greenert. In addition there were shorter remarks from the shipbuilders and politicians from Connecticut and North Dakota. At the end of the ceremony the Commissioning Pennant is raised and the crew charges onboard to “man the watch”. It is quite an impressive ceremony. There were receptions before and after the ceremony back at the main hotel.
This was a highly valuable experience for our Committee members in attendance. We observed a myriad of details that will need to be planned for COLORADO’s Commissioning. We talked to a number of people who are instrumental in making these ceremonies happen and they will be great resources for us as we plan our event.
On Friday October 24 several member of the Commissioning Committee were able to visit PCU COLORADO. In attendance were John (JJ) Mackin, Richard Cooper, John O’Donnell, Alan Buck and Wil Zurliene. CDR Ken Franklin hosted us to a tour of the building ways where we saw the first hull section for COLORADO that has arrived in the shipyard. Also on the ways was the much more complete USS ILLINOIS, the boat ahead of COLORADO. It is really an amazing sight to see how these ships come together.
After visiting the building ways, we were able to meet the crew in their offices at the other end of the shipyard. About 60 members have already reported, about half of the final compliment. We were able to tell them about the Committee and how we intend to support them. We also met the two crew members who hail from Colorado, YNC(SS) Joshua Erickson from Ft. Collins and ET3(SS) William Miller from Brighton. They are an enthusiastic and dedicated group of sailors. Many thanks to the CO, CDR Ken Franklin, XO LCDR Kevin Beatley and COB ETCM(SS) Brett Jackson for taking time out of their schedule and that of the crew to allow us to visit.
In the afternoon the Navigator, LCDR Sean Stein escorted us to USS North Carolina (SSN 784) which was to be commissioned the next day. We spent over an hour on board with the Duty Officer giving us a very extensive tour of the forward spaces. The new Virginia Class are truly amazing vessels. It is odd to see a control room without periscopes.
Prospective Commanding Officer, CDR Ken Franklin, has recently approved a contest for design of USS Colorado (SSN 788) Ship’s Crest to be administered by the Commissioning Committee. Details of the contest are still being worked out, but it is anticipated that the contest will kick off in early November. Check back on this web site for full details after they are approved.