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USS Los Alamos fans see new hope with congressional endorsement

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By Tris DeRoma

The initiative to name a Virginia class attack sub the “USS Los Alamos” resurfaced again this week, thanks to an endorsement from New Mexico’s congressional delegation.

The delegation endorsed the project in a letter sent Monday to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer.

USS Los Alamos Committee Chairman James Nesmith was heartened by the news. He and his committee have been working with New Mexico’s congressional members and the state Legislature to make the naming of a nuclear submarine a reality.

“We hope that we have provided some motivation to the secretary of the Navy to make a decision this year,” Nesmith said.

Nesmith hopes the secretary will make the decision in time for the Los Alamos County’s 75th anniversary celebration  of the lab Aug. 13.

State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) was glad to hear the news. For the past two years, Richard and other representatives have passed memorial bills to bring attention to Los Alamos cause.

“It’s great to hear that they’ve sent a letter in regards to the naming the USS Los Alamos,” Richard said. “The state Legislature has unanimously, for a couple of years in a row now, supported that endeavor to name the next attack sub the USS Los Alamos.”

She said in the last session, Sen. William Payne, a retired admiral, carried the Senate memorial bill and Garcia Richard carried the bill on the House side.

“Both of those memorials went off unanimously for the second year in a row,” Garcia Richard said.

In their March 19 letter to Spencer, the delegation spoke of the hard work of the men and women at Los Alamos National Laboratory who helped usher in the nuclear age.

“The effort to honor the national laboratory responsible for the beginning of the nuclear age is a citizen-based initiative, and we hope their efforts to honor the men and women of the community and the laboratory will come to fruition,” a statement in the letter said. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and it is clear that the work of the men and women of Los Alamos has helped make the United States Navy the strongest in the world today.”

Los Alamos County Chairman David Izraelevitz thanked those involved in the efforts that have brought the project to Spencer’s attention.

“The delegation has been very supportive of this effort, and we very much appreciate their staying involved, Izraelevitz said. “Also we need to acknowledge a very active, local civic group that has been pursuing this effort… I think it’s a very appropriate way to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory that has played such as strong role in our national defense.”