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NORFOLK, Va. — The Navy accepted its newest nuclear-powered submarine on Saturday with the commissioning of the USS New Mexico, a 377-foot, technology laden ship that was delivered months ahead of schedule.
The $2.3 billion Virginia-class attack submarine was commissioned before its crew of 134 officers and enlisted men, family and shipbuilders at Naval Station Norfolk. The streamlined black sub was moored at expansive pier 14, normally reserved for one of the base’s five nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
The ship’s sponsor was Cindy Giambastiani, wife of retired Adm. Edmund Giambastiani and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She called out “bring her to life,” sending the crew scrambling to the deck of the ship, a commission tradition.
Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, delivered the principal address on a red, white and blue-bedecked podium.
The ship was built at the nearby Northrop Grumman Shipyard in partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat. It was delivered to the Navy four months early.
Cmdr. Mark A. Prokopius, a native of Seven Hills, Ohio, worked for months with shipbuilders to fine tune the sub during a series of sea trials and pronounced the ship a “fine quality product and ready to go to sea and put in harm’s way.”