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 October or November 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.
February 28th marked the first milestone for Senate Bill 17-183 introduced by Senator Bob Gardner for support of USS Colorado..Today marked the first reading of the bill in the Local Government Committee. Ten members of the Committee were there to show support for the bill. Committee Member former Senator Bernie Herpin led off the testimony and introduced Chairman JJ Mackin. JJ spoke of the history of previous Colorado’s, the actions of the Committee to date and the efforts of the crew in the construction process and later as they go to sea. The remarks were well received with the Committee voting unanimously for its passage. Click here for a complete text of his remarks.
The bill moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee for its next hearing. Both Senator Bob Gardner and Senator Larry Crowder of the Local Government Committee attended the boat’s Christening in December. The other members of the Committee are Senators Beth Martinez Humenik, Kerry Donovan and John Kefalas.
We are sorry to note that World War II Submariner Andy Palenchar passed away on February 19th. Andy qualified in submarines on USS Finback (SS 230) in 1943. During the 9th war patrol he was the sailor who hoisted LTJG George H. W. Bush aboard Finback after the future President had been shot down in the Pacific. Andy left the Navy after the war but later joined the Army reserves. He was activated for the Korean conflict and remained on active duty serving in Korea and two tours in Vietnam. He retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978.
Andy was a proud submariner. He was active with the Rocky Mountain Base of US Submarine Veterans. In spite of being recently hospitalized he still attended the February Submarine Veterans. He was a great supporter of USS Colorado. He spoke at our History Colorado event in July 2015 and pinned on dolphins for SN Brayden Kane of PCU Colorado in a ceremony held at the State Capitol in December of that year. Always with a twinkle in his eye and a great sea story to tell, he was an incredible person. His service in the Army in both Korea and Vietnam was nothing sort of amazing. He was a true Patriot and will be missed by all who knew him.
Our Committee hosted another crew visit to our state during the last week of January. Executive Officer LCDR Stephen Col, Chief of the Boat ETCM Freddie RIchter, ETN1 Kyle Rowe and MMN2 Tyler Magers spent three days visiting schools, companies and the State Capitol.
On Wednesday January 25th the crew members visited Golden High School and made a presentation to about three hundred students about the Navy, submarines and the value of STEM education. They entertained numerous questions during and after the presentation. After spending lunch with the students, they were interviewed by Mountain Time Media for inclusion in an upcoming video.
The following day the crew members started their day in Pueblo, Colorado. Having breakfast in a local restaurant they met several Navy veterans. They visited the Center for American Values and the Medal of Honor Memorial in the city. Pueblo is very proud of the four Medal of Honor recipients that hail from that town. The Center for American Values honors the memory of all Medial of Honor recipients and uses their example to reinforce the values of honor, integrity and patriotism in promoting character and leadership programs.
After leaving Pueblo, the crew members proceeded to Panorama Middle School in Colorado Springs for lunch and a presentation to about 70 students. Later in the afternoon they were given a tour of the Charles Schwab complex by Committee member Ryan Schwab. Charles Schwab has been a major contributor and sponsor of the Committee’s efforts. Ryan and his wife hosted the crew members for dinner at their home in the evening.
Friday was the annual Military Appreciation Day at the State Capitol. The event starts with a reception in the Rotunda of the Capitol. The crew members were able to several state legislators and military personnel including Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, Superintendent of the Air Force Academy.
The crew members were hosted to lunch by the Military Veterans Network at Western Union. They enjoyed a great buffet lunch and a wonderful view of the Rocky Mountains and met several executives of Western Union and members of their Military Veterans Network. Afterwords they visited a Computer Aided Design class at Cherokee Trail High School. The high school will be helping in the creation of plank owner plaques that will be given to each crew member at Commissioning. In the evening Committee member Beth Burroughs and her husband Jerry hosted the crew to a lovely dinner at their home.
It was another great visit. The crew was able to reach out to many students here in Colorado and see some our beautiful state before heading back to Groton.