The Navy’s newest Virginia class attack submarine New Mexico will be commissioned Saturday, March 27, 2010, during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Va.
New Mexico is named in recognition of the people of the ‘Land of Enchantment.’ The battleship New Mexico (1918-1946), the only other ship named after the47th state, earned six battle stars for World War II service, which included providing shore bombardment support for landings in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and at Guam, Tinian, Saipan, the Philippines, and Okinawa.
Adm. Kirkland Donald, director, naval nuclear propulsion, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Cindy Giambastiani, wife of former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff retired Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, will serve as the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition she will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
The sixth Virginia class submarine, New Mexico, is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; battle group support; and mine warfare missions. Upon entering service, New Mexico will directly enable five of the six Navy Maritime Strategy Core Capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
Cmdr. Mark A. Prokopius, a native of Seven Hills, Ohio, is the prospective commanding officer and will lead a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel.
The 7,800-ton New Mexico was built under a unique teaming arrangement between Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat. The boat is 377-feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths of greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. New Mexico is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship; reducing lifecycle costs while increasing operational availability.