Last Saturday, October 27th, I went to the christening of USS MINNESOTA (SSN-784) at the Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) shipyards in Newport News, Virginia. It was truly an impressive sight to see MINNESOTA on blocks simply dominating the hangar in which it was finally assembled. The photos I took cannot really show how big it looks as we sat with the other guests, the families of the crew and shipyard workers who built MINNESOTA, but I think with the several photos I have included you can get a pretty good idea. I liked the design of MINNESOTA on the side of the boat with the”O” turned into a representation of Minnesota as the “North Star State.”
If you want to get on the list to attend the christening of our very own USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) in Groton, Connecticut, in 2013, the best thing for you to do right now is to go to the upper right hand corner of this blog and register to receive notices of the christening and commissioning events.
I flew to Washington DC on Friday and my friend and fellow Navy League member Darrell Williams picked me up and drove us to Newport News. The event started at 8:00 a.m. with a breakfast until 9:30 a.m. at the main offices of NNS. Unfortunately Darrell was depending on me to navigate so as I had us follow the map on the invitation somehow I got us into Norfolk through the enormous tunnel and bridge combination that allows traffic to go back and forth between Norfolk and Newport News. But we did get there in plenty of time to have breakfast and to enjoy visiting with quite a few people. My favorite visit was with Captain Bob Melchoir of Bemidji, Minnesota, who I had not seen since we both retired from the Navy Reserve in 1991. It was as if not a day had passed since we last were with one another.
As I said, I didn’t get great photos, but here are a few that I took. This first picture shows the port side of MINNESOTA looking forward toward its bow which is right at the end of the huge building where she was finally assembled. The other photo is of the bow taken from the bus as we left the event.
MINNESOTA’s sponsor is Ellen Roughead, the wife of the retired Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead. here are a few photos of head and the stage for the guest.
Here are photos of Darrell Williams and me, and Bob Melchoir and me against a great backdrop.
Here is a link to the NNS news release about the christening, and here are two photos taken from that new release. Ellen Roughead really did a great job of breaking the campagne bottle! Our sponsor Katie Fowler I’m sure will do an equally great job!