USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), the Navy's newest nuclear-powered attack submarine and the fifth of the Virginia-class, was brought to life Oct. 25 during a commissioning ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Cheryl McGuinness served as the ship's sponsor, and gave the order to man the ship. McGuinness is the widow of Lt. Cmdr. Thomas McGuinness, a veteran Navy pilot and a co-pilot on American Airlines Flight 11 that was flown into the of the by terrorists Sept. 11, 2001.
More than 3,500 guests, including the crew's family and friends, submarine veterans and shipyard workers, attended the ceremony welcoming the submarine as the fourth naval vessel to be named . Approximately 1,000 additional residents of watched the ceremony on closed circuit television in 's , across the , within sight of the ceremony at PNS.
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) served as the principal speaker during the ceremony. He praised the men of USS New Hampshire, the shipyard workers, and paid special tribute to the family members.
In addition to all the dignitaries present was a special group of school children. Students from in , started a letter-writing campaign in 2004, requesting the submarine bear the name of their state.
This is the first time in 12 years that two submarines of the same class have been commissioned in the same year. USS North Carolina (SSN 777) was commissioned in May. Cost-reduction initiatives resulted in USS New Hampshire being delivered eight months early and $54 million under budget.