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.