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(above) CAPT Robert Kelso, Commanding Officer of the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), addresses the crowd during Carter’s commissioning event Feb. 19 in New London, Conn.

(below) Members of Jimmy Carter’s crew race aboard the ship during her commissioning event.

In a Class of its Own USS Jimmy Carter Commissioning Increases Multi-Mission Capability of the U.S. Submarine Force

by J02 Barrie Barber, USNR; J03 Steven Feller, USN

Sailors raced aboard the world’s newest, quietest, and most heavily-armed nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine Feb. 19, to “bring to life” USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23). Named for the 39th President of the United States, the vessel was commissioned in a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London.

The ceremony began with an enthusiastic, rousing welcome from Congressman Rob Simmons
(R-CT), after which the crowd settled in for a series of congratulatory speeches from local and visiting dignitaries and military and industry leaders.

The third and final submarine of the USS Seawolf (SSN-21) class, Jimmy Carter can sail under the polar ice cap or through near-shore shallow water armed with cruise missiles, mines, torpedoes, unmanned undersea vehicles, surveillance sensors, and Naval Special Warfare forces.

The one-of-a-kind vessel has all the capabilities of a Seawolf-class submarine, plus a 100-foot-long, 2,500-ton hull extension known as a Multi-Mission Platform to test new generations of weapons and support Navy SEAL operations. In addition to using this versatile ocean interface, the vessel can be equipped with a Dry Deck Shelter and can operate the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS).

“Although Jimmy Carter is technically the third ship of the class, the modifications make it a class of its own,” said Electric Boat (EB) President John P. Casey. “In that sense, the Navy and Electric Boat achieved an unprecedented accomplishment: the commissioning of two lead submarines (Jimmy Carter and USS Virginia (SSN-774)) in just 120 days.”

Although much was said about the capabilities of the new submarine, VADM Charles L. Munns, Commander, Naval Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, used his time at the podium to challenge Jimmy Carter Commanding Officer CAPT Robert D. Kelso and his crew.

Jimmy Carter has much to contribute to the global war on terrorism, to the stability of this nation, and to the safety of our people,” said VADM Munns. “The United States of America is in need of her service and I charge you and your crew to make her ready.”

(clockwise from top) CAPT Kelso, escorts former President Jimmy Carter as they pass attendees during the commissioning ceremony.

Secretary of the Navy Gordon England speaks to the audience during the commissioning ceremony.

Former President Carter and ship’s sponsor Rosalynn Carter react to a speech during the commissioning event.
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Photo Caption Previously Stated Photo Caption Previously Stated


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Cover of Undersea Warfare Magazine Winter 2005