On Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, Newport News Shipbuilding christened the nation's newest submarine during a ceremony on-site where the ship is being constructed. While other Virginia-class submarines have been named after U.S. states, SSN 785 holds the distinction of being the first to be named after a person—a man who has served his country throughout his entire adult life as a Navy enlisted sailor, a Marine lieutenant, Secretary of the Navy and a U.S. Senator of Virginia.
Senator Warner's wife, Jeanne Warner, serves as Ship's Sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship's bow during the christening ceremony. John Warner (SSN 785) is the 12th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the sixth to be delivered to the U.S. Navy by Newport News Shipbuilding.
The Tradition of Christening
The ceremony involved in naming and launching a naval vessel is based in traditions thousands of years old. Ancient Mediterranean shipbuilders accompanied the launching of their ships with religious ceremonies invoking favor over the ship and her sailors. Today, the tradition has evolved into a ceremony that honors the individuality of the ship and the life ahead of her. The ship's sponsor proclaims, "In the name of the United States I christen thee..." and shatters a ceremonial bottle of American sparkling wine against the bow of the new ship. The ship is then "launched," or undocked, and moved to a pier where outfitting will continue until the ship is ready for delivery.
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Slideshow: John Warner
SSN 785's Shipbuilders