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.
Five sailors from USS Colorado will visit the state on December 13th through the 15th. Four will be here to be honored as “Bronco Country Heroes” during halftime of the Broncos-Raiders game on the 13th. Participating in this event will be Chief of the Boat, ETCM Brett Jackson along with MM1 Ryan Zabka, YN2 James Brown and MM2 Derrick Altenburger.
The fifth sailor, STSSN Brayden Kane of Brighton, Colorado has just met all the requirements to earn his submarine dolphins, the submarine warfare insignia. He is coming to Colorado in order to have his Dolphin Award ceremony here so that his family may attend. The ceremony is planned for 10 AM on Monday December 14th in the Rotunda of the State Capitol. WWII Submarine Veteran Andy Palenchar will present the Dolphins with submarine sailors and veterans in attendance.
During the visit the sailors will make several school visits and be available for media interviews. On Tuesday evening, December 15th there will be a reception in their honor. More details of this event to follow.
In ceremonies held on Veteran’s Day, the University Memorial Center at CU Boulder unveiled the ship’s bell from the first USS Colorado which was commissioned in 1858 and saw service in the Civil War. The 832 Pound bell arrived on the day before from the Navy History and Heritage Command in Virginia.
The bell has a unique history. It was also used on the second USS Colorado (ACR 7) commissioned in 1905. That vessel was renamed USS Pueblo in 1916 to allow the name to be used for the battleship USS Colorado. In addition the bell was used aboard the USS Puritan (BM-1) (1896-1910) prior to being used aboard the USS Colorado (ARC-7), The Puritan was a Monitor class ship that served during the Spanish-American War and the 2nd of 5 ships called the USS Puritan. The bell was removed from the USS Pueblo in August or September 1931 during scrapping and transferred to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL for display. The bell was transferred to the Navy History Center (now called Naval History and Heritage Command) in November of 2004 until it was transferred to CU Boulder.
The annual Veterans Day Ceremony featured remarks by Major George “Chip” Jones, USMC (Ret). Also speaking were University Chancellor DiStefano and Congressman Jared Polis. After the ceremony in the Glen Miller Ballroom a reception was held in a nearby room the new bell proudly on display. USS Colorado Commissioning Committee had a table with merchandise for sale and a model of SSN 788 by model maker and retired Navy E-9, Jon Sorenson.
With the acquisition of the new bell, the University will be expanding the University Memorial Center to accommodate it. Currently the center has the bell and helm from the battleship Colorado, a 40 inch model of the ship and plaques honoring CU alumni who lost their lives in the service of our country.
For more information about CU University Memorial Center Please Visit www.colorado.edu/umc/about/veterans
USS Colorado Ship’s Bell
Research by our Committee and friends revealed that the ship’s bell from the original 3 masted steam frigate USS Colorado was stored by the US Navy’s Heritage and History Command at a warehouse in Virginia. Additionally that bell was also used on the second USS Colorado (ACR 7).
The University of Colorado at Boulder has been designated as the official repository of memorabilia from the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) which saw service in World War II. Currently that bell along with the helm and other items are on display at the University Memorial Center (UMC) on campus.
After discovery of the existence of the first bell, the university initiated a request to have the bell loaned by the navy to the UMC to accompany the battleship’s bell. After a number of emails on the subject, the Navy has agreed to the loan and is shipping the bell to Colorado.
The bell weighs 832 pounds and measures 42″W x 34.5″H x 35.5″D.
The bell is departing Virginia area tomorrow and, barring any unforeseen road delay, is scheduled to arrive in time for Veteran’s Day.