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Re: Navy Commissions Submarine USS CALIFORNIA (SSN 781) October 29, 20111

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  • usaseapower
    Submarine USS California stands ready to defend nation NORFOLK — The 136 sailors of the Newport News-built submarine California were ordered to man their
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 29, 2011
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      Submarine USS California 'stands ready to defend nation'

      NORFOLK — The 136 sailors of the Newport News-built submarine California were
      ordered to man their ship and bring it to life. Per tradition, they eagerly
      accepted their orders, belting out an "Aye, aye, ma'am!"

      The only problem was that their submarine was more than a mile away on the other
      side of sprawling Naval Station Norfolk, tied to a pier, alone in the rain.

      Instead of rushing aboard the Navy's newest vessel that they helped put
      together, the sailors jogged up a red-carpeted center aisle inside Hanger 70 on
      Saturday morning and formed a semi-circle around a crowd of about 2,500. They
      stood ready for duty.

      A blustery October nor'easter scuttled the planned pierside ceremony for the USS
      California, the eighth Virginia class submarine built in a partnership between
      Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.'s Newport News shipyard and General Dynamics
      Electric Boat in Groton, Conn.

      But the military band played on — indoors — at a makeshift concert hall
      fashioned out of a cavernous hangar that hosts the Navy's Helicopter Mine
      Countermeasures Squadron 15, otherwise known as "The Blackhawks."

      Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, the Navy's submarine force commander, thanked the
      squadron and its leaders for allowing the "submarine force to come and invade
      your spaces."

      The Saturday morning event marked the first time a Virginia class sub was
      commissioned indoors and without being present.

      Becky Stewart, who led Newport News Shipbuilding's submarine program for more
      than seven years before moving over to vice president of manufacturing a few
      months ago, said the day was bittersweet for her and others in the crowd, many
      of whom had never witnessed a sub commissioning.

      "Yes, it's a shame" that the weather didn't cooperate, she said before the
      hour-long ceremony. "But we have a lot to be proud of, and this is a very great
      day."

      The Newport News shipyard delivered the 377-foot, $2.38 billion California to
      the Navy under budget and more than eight months ahead of schedule.

      But the military band played on — indoors — at a makeshift concert hall
      fashioned out of a cavernous hangar that hosts the Navy's Helicopter Mine
      Countermeasures Squadron 15, otherwise known as "The Blackhawks."

      Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, the Navy's submarine force commander, thanked the
      squadron and its leaders for allowing the "submarine force to come and invade
      your spaces."

      The Saturday morning event marked the first time a Virginia class sub was
      commissioned indoors and without being present.

      Becky Stewart, who led Newport News Shipbuilding's submarine program for more
      than seven years before moving over to vice president of manufacturing a few
      months ago, said the day was bittersweet for her and others in the crowd, many
      of whom had never witnessed a sub commissioning.

      "Yes, it's a shame" that the weather didn't cooperate, she said before the
      hour-long ceremony. "But we have a lot to be proud of, and this is a very great
      day."

      The Newport News shipyard delivered the 377-foot, $2.38 billion California to
      the Navy under budget and more than eight months ahead of schedule.

      Huntington and Electric Boat, which each build portions of the fast-attack
      submarines and take turns on final assembly and delivery, have made significant
      progress on each successive boat in terms of cost and schedule.

      Their partnership is often lauded by Pentagon officials and members of Congress,
      who have rewarded the companies by doubling production this year to two subs.

      Rear Adm. David C. Johnson, the Navy's program executive officer for submarines
      said Pentagon evaluators cited the California for "significant improvement of
      operational readiness as compared to previous Virginia class submarines.

      "Not only was this ship early, under budget and more complete than her
      predecessors, she was also more combat ready right at the end of construction, a
      testament to the capability of the world's best Navy-industry team," Johnson
      said.

      Continuing to drive down costs and construction time is critical for the
      submarine program to avoid the budget hatchet as the Pentagon and Congress seek
      to slash as much as $465 billion in defense spending over the next decade.

      Electric Boat President John Casey said his company and Huntington must stay on
      a path of continuous improvement.

      "We must — absolutely must — extend the Virginia submarine program's record of
      earlier ship delivery," he said.

      Casey made his plea in front of a cadre of Washington heavyweights who play a
      crucial role in determining how taxpayers' money is spent.

      Among those were Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert; Allison
      Stiller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs; and five
      congressmen, including Virginia Reps. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Scott Rigell,
      Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman and California Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, the
      chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

      McKeon, who delivered the keynote address, is among Washington's most-outspoken
      advocates for resisting further defense cuts. He said the U.S. submarine force
      is the envy of every other nation and is "a quiet whisper in our enemy's ear."

      ______________________________

      More informatiion and pictures...


      http://www.dailypress.com/business/ports/dp-nws-california-submarine-commissioni\
      ng-20111029,0,1936124.story

      http://news.google.com/news/story?rlz=1T4TSNF_enUS412US412&q=uss+california+subm\
      arine&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ncl=dd3sNzcSmx8x53MuJL_RjRCJiRVsM&hl=en&ei=wHOsTv_1IoKWtweHw\
      oHiDg&sa=X&oi=news_result&ct=more-results&resnum=1&ved=0CDwQqgIwAA


      --- In PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com, "Phelps Hobart" <nlsac@...> wrote:

      Navy Commissions Submarine California
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