The United States Navy commissioned the second Virginia Block IV-class fast-attack submarine USS Oregon (SSN 793) in a traditional ceremony held Saturday, May 28 at Naval Submarine Base in New London .
US Department of Defense press release
“Oregonians are deeply honored that the 20 Virginia-class submarine will bear the name of our state,” said Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
The Memorial Day weekend event for the USS Oregon – the second of the Block IV Virginia-class submarines – represented the first in-person submarine commissioning ceremony since commissioning from the USS South Dakota (SSN 790) on February 2, 2019.
Due to restrictions on large gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 commissionings of USS Vermont (SSN 792) and USS Delaware (SSN 791) have been administratively completed. , with ceremonies held at later dates in 2021 and 2022 to celebrate the milestones retroactively.
SSN 793 is the third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the Oregon name, but the first in more than a century. The first, named after Oregon Territory before Oregon became a state, was a brigantine in service from 1841 to 1845. The second was an Indiana-class battleship commissioned in 1896 and finally decommissioned last service in 1919.
“As we commission Oregon today, the torch has passed from our naval history to the present day. First a brig bearing the name Oregon served as an exploration vessel in the mid-19th century, then an Indiana-class battleship, Oregon served in the Spanish-American War and helped destroy the fleet (of famous Spanish friend Pascual Cervera y Topete) Today Oregon breaks her flag again and returns at sea, reborn as an extraordinarily capable fast attack submarine.
Tommy Ross, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition
The USS Oregon is 377 feet long, has a beam of 34 feet, and is capable of diving to depths greater than 800 feet and operating at speeds greater than 25 knots. She has a crew of nearly 140 Navy personnel.
“The passion, courage and enthusiasm of the crew at Oregon carried the ship to sea and were essential to the completion of construction and trials,” said Cmdr. Lacy Lodmell, commanding officer of USS Oregon. “I was deeply honored to see you become a team ready to undertake any mission entrusted to us. They are without a doubt the best crew I have had the pleasure of serving with.
The Oregon submarine was previously christened in a traditional ceremony at General Dynamics Corp’s Electric Boat shipyard. in Groton, Connecticut on October 5, 2019.
Dana L. Richardson, the wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, is the ship’s sponsor. During Saturday’s commissioning event, Dana Richardson gave the crew the traditional order to ‘lead our ship and bring it to life’, after which Oregon sailors ceremonially raced aboard of the submarine.
Fast attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the Navy’s six core maritime strategy capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, offensive warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast attack submarines project their power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation for regional crises.
“Oregon and the other Virginia-class submarines will not only support, but exploit our advantage in submarine warfare. Soon, Oregon will use her stealth, flexibility, superior firepower and endurance to silently traveling across the world’s oceans undetected, gathering intelligence, preparing for battle, and – if necessary – striking swiftly from the depths without warning to answer the nation’s call.
Adm. Frank Caldwell, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program Director
Block IV class Virginia the submarines incorporate design changes focused on reducing total cost of ownership. By making these design changes on a smaller scale to increase the life cycle at the submarine component level, the Navy will increase the periodicity between depot maintenance availabilities and increase the number of deployments.
Virginia-class Block I-III submarines are scheduled to undergo four depot maintenance availabilities and complete 14 deployments. Block IV design changes aim to reduce planned availabilities from one to three and increase deployments to 15.
Other speakers at the commissioning ceremony included Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat Shipyard, as well as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney of Connecticut. The master of ceremonies was Lt. Cmdr. Collin Hedges, executive officer of the USS Oregon.