Posted: October 10, 2017 2:45 PM

USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. — The Navy, with assistance from the submarine’s sponsor Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, commissioned and brought to life the newest Virginia-class submarine, USS Washington (SSN 787), during a ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk, Oct. 7, the commander. U.S. Submarine Forces said in a release.

Washington, named in honor of the 42nd state, is the 14th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to join the Navy’s operational fleet. Elisabeth Mabus expressed how proud she was of the crew and their families.

“I know, though you are all eager to set out on the Washington, this like all naval service will requires you to be away from your families for long stretches, so thank you to the families” she said. “In a very real sense you are plank owners of this ship as well.”

Mabus gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life” before the crew of about 130 ran across the brow, onto the vessel.

Washington is the fourth of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia-class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines are built with two-larger 87-inch diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

“We won’t know what challenges we will face as a nation in 10, 15 or 20 years, but we know because of the work being done now at Newport News and Electric Boat and by the Sailors who call this ship home, USS Washington will be prepared for whatever is to come,” Mabus said.

USS Washington commanding officer, Cmdr. Gabriel Cavazos, highlighted the Washington’s capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement.

“As I have told the crew on many occasions, they are the most important component of the ship,” Cavazos said. “They give the ship its personality and warfighting spirit. Without the crew, Washington would not be the warfighting platform she was built to be; however, combine the two, and, together, we are the Blackfish.”

“Thank you for being here to celebrate this momentous occasion with us,” he said.

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