Welcome to USS Colorado (SSN-788) Commissioning Committee web site. USS Colorado (SSN-788) is the 15th Virginia Class submarine. It was delivered to the Navy on September 21, 2017 and is currently conducting shakedown operations. After shakedown is complete, it will be commissioned on March 17, 2018 at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT. 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.

27. December 2017 · Comments Off on Commissioning Information · Categories: Commissioning

Commissioning Invitations

We have sent our first batches of invitations to the Navy and have one or two more to go. For those interested in attending requests for invitations will remain open until December 31st. Invitations should be mailed by mid to late January. Recall that you must RSVP to the invitation to receive your tickets
We will be accepting requests for invitations on our web site until December 31st. The requests will be forwarded to the Navy who will send out the invitations in the latter half of January. You will need to RSVP to the invitation in order to receive your tickets to the Commissioning.

Commissioning Week Schedule of Events

For the general public the Commissioning Ceremony will be at 11 AM on Saturday March 17th at Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT. Instructions for parking will follow with your tickets after you have accepted the invitations.
• After the ceremony there will be a reception for all at the head of the pier. We intend to feature Colorado food and beverage products.
• The boat will be open for tours until about 4 PM.
• In the evening there will be a no host dinner at the Marriott.
• If you are arriving early, there are a number of interesting places to see in the area. More will be posted on our web site as we get closer.
• For donors at the Long’s Peak Level and above, there will be several events on Friday starting about 10 AM. During the day we will have a series of tours of USS Colorado and selected submarine base training facilities. There will be a clambake at noon on the base. In the evening the Charmian’s Reception is a very memorable event where a number of presentations are made to the crew.
• There will be party for the crew and their families on Thursday.
For a more complete description about Commissioning week events please see our Commissioning Week page

Commissioning Week Reservations

The Committee has reserved a limited block of rooms at the Marriott at a rate of $129 per night. To make reservations in this block visit:

AAA Colorado, a long term Committee Sponsor, will assist with travel and room reservations for those interested and has agreed to waive their service fee. To have them assist you, contact either of the following:

Stephanie Portugal, 303-753-8800×8122, sportugal@colorado.aaa.com
Kim Swanson, 303-753-8800×8124, kswanson@colorado.aaa.com

21. November 2017 · Comments Off on WWII Battleship Colorado Veterans Visit CU for Veteran’s Day · Categories: Other Event

At their annual Veteran’s Day Program held this year on November 10th, the University of Colorado Boulder hosted two of the veterans who served aboard the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) during World War II. Ken Jones and Jack Paris and their families visited to see the unveiling of additional artifacts from the battleship that are now on display in the University Memorial Center (UMC). The display includes the ship’s foghorn, uniforms, logbooks and the sewing machine of Clem the Cobbler. Elton Clem was a crew member for over 20 years. Also in attendance was Elton’s daughter Melinda Cooper and her family. Ken and Dorothy Jones traveled from Texas and Jack and Jean Paris came from California to be part of this event.

In addition to the artifacts at the UMC, a special plaque that will be mounted on the new USS Colorado was unveiled. The plaque contains the words of Ken Jones’ challenge to the crew of the submarine to carry on the traditions of the battleship. The plaque was created and donated by the SMART (Sheet Metal | Air | Rail | Transportation) Local #9 in conjunction with Kloppenberg & Co. and Omni Elite Sheet Metal. In the picture John Fleck, Director of SMART’s Apprenticeship and Training Institute, and Robert Ziegler of Omni Elite and his wife Shannon present the plaque to Ken and Dorothy Jones.

That evening the veterans and their families had dinner with Andrea Zelinko and Jimmy Baker of the UMC and George Lundeen. George is the renowned sculptor who is creating a special ship’s bell as a give as a present to the submarine from the Battleship Association. The bell had to be recast with the year 2018 after the Commissioning was rescheduled. He presented a second copy of the bell that will reside in the Veteran’s Memorial Lounge at the UMC alongside the bells that served on the previous three USS Colorado’s.


The veterans were also invited to attend the CU – USC football game on Saturday.

14. November 2017 · Comments Off on PCU Colorado (SSN 788) Holds Change of Command · Categories: KeyEvent

It was a beautiful fall day in Groton on November 3rd, as CDR Reed Koepp relieved CDR Ken Franklin as Commanding Officer, PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in the Navy’s traditional ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base.

Commander Franklin is the first Commanding Officer of Colorado, having reported with the first major increment of the crew in the fall of 2014 when the boat was just parts. He has seen the boat all through construction, sea trials and delivery to the Navy. He and his wife Toni will move to Naples, Italy where Commander Franklin will report as Deputy Commander of Task Force 69, which is responsible for all US submarine operations in the Mediterranean. Commander Franklin is a native of Plant City, Florida.  He enlisted in the Navy in 1989 and was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning and, after graduation from Florida State University, was Commissioned in 1996. He has been selected for promotion to the rank of Captain.

Ship’s Sponsor, Annie Mabus was present at the ceremony and gave some heartfelt remarks. She praised Commander Franklin for his tour and for making her feel welcome as a part of the the  Colorado family. She welcomed fellow Mississippian Commander Koepp as the new Commanding Officer. The principal speaker at the ceremony was Captain John Tolliver, Deputy Director of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs. Captain Tolliver has been a mentor to Commander Franklin for many years of his naval career.

In his remarks Commander Franklin thanked the crew for their hard work and dedication in building the boat from scratch and welcomed Commander Koepp and his wife, Aimee, to Colorado. For his tour aboard Colorado, Commander Franklin was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Commodore of Submarine Squadron 4, Captain Brian Sittlow.

After the ceremony the boat was open for visiting. A reception was held at the Officer’s Club on the base with a cake decorated with the Ship’s Crest. Commander Franklin described the story of the ship’s crest contest and how it was won by one of the officers now on board, Lieutenant Mike Nielsen.

Commander Koepp reports to Colorado from Executive Officer of Nuclear Power Training Unit, Charleston, South Carolina and is a graduate of Louisiana State University.

27. October 2017 · Comments Off on COLORADO Crew Members Visit State · Categories: Crew VIsit

PCU Colorado crew members recently completed another visit to Colorado. Visiting the state this time were LTJG Anthony Matus, MMA2 Tristan Newton, ITS2 Nicholas Sylvia, and ETN2 John Warren. They arrived on Monday October 9th and on Tuesday morning they visited Doherty High School in Colorado Springs where they presented a flag flown over the boat on sea trials, for placement in the schools military Hall of Honor. Afterwards they were hosted to lunch at the El Paso Club by the Trustees of the Colorado Thirty Group. After lunch, the Colorado Thirty Group, with the help of crew members, presented a plaque of the ship’s crest to the Colorado Springs City Council. The plaque is a replica of the one that the group presented to the boat at the Christening and is now mounted in the Wardroom. In the evening they had dinner with several Committee members at Front Range BBQ in Colorado Springs.

On Wednesday MMA2 Tristan Newton went to Cherokee Tails High School in Aurora and visited the Industrial Arts Class taught by Paul Clinton. The class is making “Plankowner” plaques for the commissioning crew. In the Navy members of the crew who are present at Commissioning are designated plankowners. Tom Mustin of CBS4 Denver interviewed Petty Officer Newton, two of the students in the class and Mr. Clinton for a piece that showed on the five o’clock news. The students stated how proud they were to be making the plaques for the crew.

After the visit to Cherokee Trails, Petty Officer Newton joined the other members of the crew who started their day in Fort Collins. The crew had visited Fossil Ridge High School and Fort Collins High School in the morning where they made presentations on STEM education and Navy life. At lunch time they made a presentation to the local Rotary and Mayor Wayne Troxell read a proclamation in their honor. In the afternoon they made an all school presentation at Liberty Common High School before heading to Left Hand Brewing in Longmont for a tour and some refreshments. Later they also visited the monthly meeting of the Rocky Mountain Base of the US Submarine Veterans organization where they were greeted warmly.

Thursday the crew was interviewed by KRDO Radio in the Springs and then attended a County Commissioners meeting where a proclamation was read in their honor. They also visited Mesa Ridge High School, Widefield High School and Truman Elementary School. In the evening Mr. Leroy Landhuis of the Landhuis Company and member of the Colorado Thirty Group, hosted a reception at the El Paso Club in their honor. About forty people were present to meet the sailors and ask questions about their experiences. Many made donations to the Committee to help fund Commissioning week events.

On Friday the sailors were again in Colorado Springs. They had an early phone interview on Nash FM 95.1 followed by school visits to Panorama Middle School and Pikes Peak Elementary. In the evening they attended a reception at the Pioneer Museum where a birthday cake was cut in honor of the Navy’s Birthday. After the reception, a number of supporters joined the sailors for a lively dinner at Paravicini’s Italian Bistro in Colorado Springs West End. The highlight of the evening was the crew members serenading the patrons with a rendition of Anchors Aweigh.

The crew did some sightseeing in Denver on Saturday before attending the Navy Ball in Colorado Springs at night. The theme of this festive event was USS Colorado. About 180 persons attended the celebration of the Navy’s Birthday. All seemed to have a good time and enjoyed meeting the sailors. The Springs Mayor John Struthers was the featured speaker. The sailors headed back to Groton on Sunday.

24. October 2017 · Comments Off on PCU Colorado to Hold Change of Command · Categories: Other Event

CDR Ken Franklin, Commanding Officer PCU Colorado (SSN 788), will be relieved by CDR Reed Koepp in ceremonies at Naval Submarine Base, Groton, CT. on November 3rd. The ceremony will be held at Pier 6 North starting at 10 AM. CDR Franklin is the first Commanding Officer of Colorado, having reported with the first major increment of the crew in the fall of 2014. At that point the boat was a series of hull sections being built in Quonset Point, Rhode Island and Newport News, Virginia. CDR Franklin has seen the boat all through construction, sea trials and delivery to the Navy. This is a most demanding period for the crew. He has orders to Italy.

CDR Koepp reports to Colorado from Executive Officer of Nuclear Power Training Unit, Charleston, South Carolina. For complete biographies of both officers, see our Leadership Page.

The Change of Command Ceremony is the traditional naval ceremony that marks the formal transfer of authority and responsibility of command between two officers.

Committee Members J. J. and Florence Mackin will represent the Commissioning Committee at the ceremony.

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