Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, spoke to officers aboard the newly commissioned USS Delaware (SSN 791) and personally welcomed them and their families to the First State’s proud military family. Senator Carper had the opportunity to speak directly to and congratulate Commander Matthew Horton, Lt. Commander Josh Hodge and FTCS Travis Grammer. Due to technical limitations on the submarine, which is currently at sea, Senator Carper’s remarks were also shared with the 136-member crew aboard the USS Delaware.
Unfortunately, the public commissioning ceremony, originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 4th at the Port of Wilmington, had to be cancelled due to public health concerns and restrictions of large public gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, the Navy commissioned the USS Delaware administratively, making it the first naval vessel to be commissioned while out at sea. A celebratory event will happen later this year in Delaware.
An excerpt of the remarks that Senator Carper, a retired Navy captain, shared with Commander Horton and the crew of the USS Delaware can be found below:
“Despite a non-traditional commissioning, April 4th marks a milestone for those of you who have served aboard the USS Delaware from the time its keel was laid until today. But whether you were there for the keel-laying ceremony or you just reported for duty this year, this is a strong team led by capable leaders, ready to sail our nation’s newest vessel. While I haven’t had the privilege of meeting every crew member, I have been fortunate to meet most of you, some in Norfolk at the keel laying, others at the boat’s christening and still others at the Change of Command ceremony where your skipper succeeded Captain Brian Hogan. And, I’ve even had the honor to welcome many of you to Delaware for college football games, NASCAR races and more. But most of all, I’m looking forward to finally meeting every one of you – and hopefully many of your families – in Delaware later this year and thanking you all in person, along with our governor, our congressional delegation and thousands of your biggest fans who are anxious to welcome you as new members of our Delaware family. In the meantime, good luck, stay safe, and God Speed. I wish you all fair winds and a following sea. Tom Carper, over and out.
The USS Delaware is the 18th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine and the seventh naval warship named after the First State. The USS Delaware is a nuclear-powered, fast-attack Virginia Class submarine. 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, with several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations, and the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering and weapons systems technology.In 2012, Carper, along with Senator Chris Coons and then-Congressman John Carney joined together to send a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus that called on the Navy to name a submarine after the First State. Carper followed that up with phone calls to Secretary Mabus further encouraging him to keep the First State in mind. Months later, the Navy agreed that a state-of-the-art submarine – one of the most modern and technologically advanced in the world – would be named the USS Delaware.