On the weekend of the Colorado’s Christening, several events were held bringing together the crew of PCU Colorado, the veterans of Battleship USS Colorado (BB 45), the Coloradans who traveled to Connecticut for the event and the ship’s sponsor Annie Mabus. On Friday afternoon, the Committee held a reception for the Colorado contingent to meet the Crew and the ship’s sponsor, Annie Mabus. We were happy that the veterans of the Battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) and their families could join us. Nearly 250 got together in the Marriott. It was great to see the groups intermingle, especially as the WWII vets shared their sea stories with the crew. Former State Senator Bernie Herpin presented Annie with a sample of the USS Colorado license plate which he sponsored in the legislature. State Senators Larry Crowder, Mary Hodge and Senator elect Bob Gardner helped Committee Chair ‘JJ’ Mackin present a copy of the ship’s crest which was signed by all state legislators and the Governor during the last session to the Commanding Officer, CDR Ken Franklin. The crest will be mounted on one of the tables in the Crew’s Mess.
Veterans of the Battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) who attended the events were Frank Byars, Bill Dougherty, Ken Jones, David Jones, Charles Johnson, Wayne Kizer, Charlie Ripper, Bill Tomczyk, and Randall Toop. Also participating were widows of crew members Mariana Cochran, Charlotte Dean, Geraldine Jacks and Erma Krishnek. Some of this group traveled from as far as Texas, Oklahoma and Idaho. We were honored by their presence which made the events of the weekend truly special.
On Friday evening Electric Boat hosted a special Sponsor’s Dinner for Annie. The dinner included executives from Electric Boat, Congressmen, the CO, XO, COB and about six crew members from the boat and their spouses. At this dinner CDR Ken Franklin honored Annie by making her an honorary Submariner and presenting her with Dolphins.
On Saturday after the Christening, Electric Boat held a reception at the Marriott. The Colorado Thirty Group presented a special plaque of the Ship’s Crest to the Commanding Officer. The Thirty Group commissioned Native American artist and Vietnam veteran Doug Hyde, a noted bronze artist, to create this plaque which will be mounted in the boat’s wardroom for the life of the submarine. It will serve as a permanent reminder of the support from the citizens of Colorado for the mission of the crew and vessel. The Colorado Thirty Group, founded in 1978, is a state-wide military support organization providing educational events to its participants. The group also provides Colorado military installation commanders with connections to communities in the state and acts in support of military missions. The sculpture was commissioned with the support of its members.
On Saturday evening the Commissioning Committee organized a social hour and buffet dinner for the Colorado contingent, the Battleship veterans group and the CO, XO and COB. About 150 were in attendance. The highlight of the evening was when the veterans described some of their experiences during the war on BB45. It truly captivated those listening and made us all the more appreciative of the sacrifices that these brave men made to preserve our freedom
Overall the Christening and surrounding events were truly memorable experiences. The crew enjoyed the support from attending Coloradans and were truly humbled to meet the veterans from their namesake Battleship.