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USS CALIFORNIA (SSN-781) to be christened and commissioned

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  • Phelps Hobart
    Ahoy All, Don has asked me to be the coordinator for the Pacific Central Region on matters related to the USS CALIFORNIA (SSN-781) currently under construction
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2010
      Ahoy All,
      Don has asked me to be the coordinator for the Pacific Central Region on matters related to the USS CALIFORNIA (SSN-781) currently under construction at the Newport News shipyard in Virginia.
      I was there in Newport News for the change of the precommissioning detail's officer in charge, June 10. It was not identified as a Change of Command, but essentially the ceremony was similar. I also have some knowledge on the incredible presentation silver service of the former battleship USS CALIFORNIA, (BB-44) now for the most part aboard the USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76).
      What I need to know by the time of our region meeting is there any council interest or personal interest in christening and commissioning or adopting this Navy vessel. Please let me know. 
      Where it will be commissioned has not been determined - possibly California if the support is here. Possibly Hampton Roads if not. Where it will be homeported will be decided by the needs of the Navy but likely is San Diego, Hawaii, or Guam.
      That's it - any interest?



      Phelps Hobart

      Senior Vice President

      Vice President - USS CALIFORNIA (SSN-781)

      Pacific Central Region, NLUS

      (916) 955-3972



      ----- Original Message -----

      Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 5:38 AM

      Subject: Status of CALIFORNIA


      Mr. Hobart,

      I hope this email finds all well with you in California.  It was a pleasure to meet you during my change of charge ceremony in June—I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to share that experience with us.


      As you can imagine, the last month has been hectic, as I got “my sea legs” on the ship.  As I got settled in, I wanted to drop you a quick note to give you a status report on the ship and discuss some concrete actions I think are appropriate as we move into the final year before commissioning.


      Status of the CALIFORNIA 


      Another group of young sailors recently reported to the ship, leaving only about 20 personnel left to report.  The crew is really coming together.

      The crew is hard at work with the shipyard to continue the build process.  We will enter a period of around the clock (24/7) testing in late July for about 5-6 weeks.  This will be the last major testing before the ship becomes waterborne.  Although challenging, the crew is ready to go. 

      The ship is on track for a Christening on Saturday 6 November, with “Float Off” into the water the following day.


      Recommended Actions


      With the Christening right around the corner and Commissioning in JUL-AUG 2011, I think the time is right to address a few items.

      1. I intend to fly out to California in early SEP to visit state/USNL officials.  The goal of the trip is to generate interest in the ship and deepen our existing ties.
      2. I owe the SECNAV a list of potential commissioning sites.  One factor in this decision is the role of the state.  It is appropriate at this time to gauge the level of interest in the state and determine the level of involvement the state, and local USNL chapters, desire to have with the process.  There is no “right” answer, but as the planning becomes more concrete, it is in all of our best interests to be on the same page.


      If there are any other big pictures items I should be thinking about, please let me know.

      Your assistance in helping me plan my trip, particularly who you think I should try and visit, is much appreciated. 


      Looking forward to working with you.



      CDR Dana Nelson, USN

      Commanding Officer, PCU CALIFORNIA (SSN 781)


      (w) (757) 688-8970

      (c) (757) 746-0530





      ----- Original Message -----

      From: Huesmann, Bill (IS)

      To: Phelps Hobart

      Cc: Norb Smith ; Huesmann, Bill (IS) ; Daniel Branch Jr.

      Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 8:04 AM

      Subject: USSCA


      Phelps…no news just yet.  The boat is in the throes of reactor startup/certification and will likely be focussed hard on that over the next 45-60 days until the plant is up and running and everything is certified as right.  Nucs take that sequence seriously and tend to get tunnel vision for awhile as that process plays out.  I expect that somewhere in early/mid-August we will start to get some traction with the boat.  The XO and I have exchanged emails subsequent to our meeting in Norfolk a couple of weeks ago and they are working through what they want their site selection letter to say.  Once that process starts through the Navy chain, I’ll keep tabs on its progress.  Am remaining engaged with SECNAV office as always and will let folks know when we have some news.  Since I expect USSCA will commission in Fall of 2011; sometime this Fall is when things will get moving more briskly. 


      All the best,



      W. M. (Bill) Huesmann
      Director, Ship Commissioning
      228-366-1465 (cell)



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