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Immediate Release

Navy to Christen Submarine Iowa

The Navy will christen one of its newest Virginia-class fast-attack submarines, the future USS Iowa (SSN 797), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, June 17, 2023, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut.

The principal speaker will be the Honorable Erik Raven, Under Secretary of the Navy. Remarks will also be provided by the Honorable Senator Richard Blumenthal; Vice Adm. Frank Morley, principal military Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition); Mr. Kevin Graney, president of Electric Boat; Mr. Bryan Caccavale, vice president, Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding; U.S. Representative, Iowa's 3rd District, Zach Nunn; and U.S. Representative, Connecticut's 2nd District, Joe Courtney

In a time-honored Navy tradition, the submarine's sponsor, Mrs. Christie Vilsack, will christen the boat by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow. Vilsack, an Iowa native, most recently served as the education advisor to the chancellor of Colorado State University. She also served as the senior advisor for International Education at USAID during the Obama Administration. As Iowa's First Lady, she led a focus on education and advocacy for Iowa's public libraries. She and her husband Mr. Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, live in rural Iowa.

The future USS Iowa (SSN 797) is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel and first submarine named in recognition of the state. Previous ships named after the state were battleships, as well as, a converted merchant ship that was never activated.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. These capabilities allow the submarine force to contribute to regional stability and preservation of future peace while operating everywhere international law allows, so everyone else can too.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at (703) 697-5342. More information about the Virginia-class attack submarines is available online at