President and First Lady Celebrate Commissioning of Virginia-class Submarine USS Delaware
President and First Lady Celebrate Commissioning of Virginia-class Submarine USS Delaware

President and First Lady Celebrate Commissioning of Virginia-class Submarine USS Delaware

President of the United States Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and First Lady Jill Biden, the ship sponsor, celebrated the commissioning of the Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Delaware (SSN 791) Saturday, April 2, in a ceremony in Wilmington, Delaware. President Biden previously represented the state of Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate. Due to COVID restrictions in place at the time, there was no traditional commissioning ceremony held when USS Delaware was commissioned administratively on April 4, 2020. On that day, the submarine was underway and became the first U.S. Navy ship commissioned while submerged. Saturday’s ceremony followed the script of a traditional commissioning in every way and was held in commemoration of the milestone.

“This latest Navy ship to carry the Delaware name is part of a long tradition of serving our nation proudly and strengthening our nation’s security,” President Biden said. “Not just us, but our allies and partners around the world as well.”

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“This vessel will always uphold the First State’s motto of ‘Liberty and Independence,’” she said. “It’s difficult to put into words what it means to be a part of the USS Delaware family. It’s an incredible honor that I take seriously. I’ve seen the heart of this crew and it makes me proud and humbled to be your shipmate for life.”

President and First Lady Celebrate Commissioning of  Virginia-class Submarine USS Delaware
President of the United States Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday stand during the national anthem during a commissioning commemoration ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine USS Delaware (SSN 791) in Wilmington, Delaware April 2, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten)

USS Delaware (SSN-791) is a Virginia-class attack submarine built for the United States Navy. The contract to build her was awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries in partnership with the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Newport News, Virginia on 22 December 2008. This boat is the eighth and final of the Block III submarines that feature a revised bow, including some technology from Ohio-class SSGNs. Construction on Delaware began in September 2013. She was christened on 20 October 2018 Delaware was the first ever US ship commissioned while underwater. USS Delaware is homeported at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, where it operates under Submarine Squadron 12 and its Commodore, Capt. Matthew Boland.

USS Delaware is 377 feet (115 m) long, 33 feet (10 m) wide, has a maximum draft of 32 feet (9.8 m) and displaces 7,800 tonnes (7,700 long tons; 8,600 short tons). She is propelled by nuclear power, has a single semi-pump jet style propulsor unit and a complement of 15 officers and 117 enlisted crew members. Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.

President and First Lady Celebrate Commissioning of Virginia-class Submarine USS Delaware
The crew of the Virginia-class submarine USS Delaware (SSN 791) board the ship during a commissioning commemoration ceremony in Wilmington, Delaware April 2, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Dakota David)

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