Carper, President Biden, First Lady Celebrate the Commissioning of the USS Delaware

First State and Navy leaders commemorate the Virginia-class fast attack nuclear submarine USS Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.); President Joe Biden; Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States and the ship sponsor for USS Delaware; and state and Navy leadership today celebrated the commissioning of the USS Delaware (SSN 791), a Virginia-Class Fast Attack Nuclear submarine, in a commemorative ceremony at the Port of Wilmington. Senator Carper delivered a keynote address to mark the commissioning, followed by remarks by President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

To watch the full commissioning commemoration ceremony, click here.

“The men who serve — and will serve — aboard the U.S.S. Delaware will bear our state’s name for decades to come as they defend our nation. Through their sacrifice and service, may we grow even closer to that more perfect union,” Senator Carper said in his keynote address.

“This latest ship to carry [the name of] the USS Delaware is part of a long tradition of serving our nation proudly and strengthening our nation’s security—the security of the United States of America, and not just us, but our allies and partners around the world as well,” said President Biden in his remarks.

“This vessel will always uphold the First State’s motto of liberty and independence…Today marks the beginning of an incredible journey of the ship’s long and faithful service to our country,” Dr. Biden said in her remarks.

“What a special day for Delaware and for our country,” said Governor John Carney. “I’ve been so inspired by every sailor on this ship as we’ve watched their progress — training and learning everything about their new home on the USS Delaware. The people of Delaware are proud to embrace the USS Delaware and her crew. Thank you to Senator Carper for your leadership, and thank you to the officers and crew for your service and sacrifice. We salute you.”

“Today is a historic day in Delaware as we witnessed the commemorative commissioning ceremony of the Virginia-Class Fast Attack Nuclear submarine USS Delaware, only the seventh vessel to bear the First State’s name,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “Congratulations to the US Navy, the crew of this magnificent ship, and those who worked so diligently to make today happen including Senator Carper and Senator Coons. May the First State’s name bring safety, strength, and skill to all of the USS Delaware’s missions going forward.”

The USS Delaware is the first Navy ship to be named for the First State since 1923 and the seventh vessel to bear its name overall.

In 2012, a Letter to the Editor published in The News Journal, submitted by Delawarean Steven Llanso, prompted Senators Carper and Coons (both D-Del.) and then-Congressman John Carney to send a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus encouraging him to consider naming a submarine after the state of Delaware. Later that same year, the Delaware congressional delegation welcomed the announcement of the naming of the Naval submarine, the USS Delaware. Biden, Carper, and Carney all participated in the keel-laying ceremony – the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction – in April 2016.

The USS Delaware was built by Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, and General Dynamics Electric Boat. Nearly 4,000 shipbuilders have supported the construction of the USS Delaware, and the ship has 135 officers and crew onboard. The USS Delaware is commanded by Commanding Officer Matthew Horton. The ship’s motto is “First Defenders of Liberty.”

The USS Delaware is the 18th boat of the Virginia-class. The Virginia-class is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines (SSNs) in service with the Navy. The Navy considers it to be the “next generation” of attack submarine. Virginia-class submarines are capable of submerged speeds in excess of 25 knots and are able to stay submerged for up to three months at a time. Virginia-class submarines are armed with Tomahawk Cruise missiles, MK-48 torpedoes, advanced mobile mines and an unmanned under sea vehicle.