“People of a great nation are trusting you to keep them safe,” she told the Sailors, adding that the people of a great state are trusting them to carry the state’s – and the submarine’s – motto to the far corners of the globe: ‘Don’t Mess With Texas.’
“Every time Texas sails, you can be justifiably proud that she carries a piece of each of you with her,” said Adm. Michael Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, noting that the state’s fighting tradition has led
Petty Officer 3rd Class Benjamin A. McTee said Texas was his top choice of submarines he wanted to serve aboard because he’s a native Texan.
The crew, he said, is anxious to set out to sea.
“I’m ready to see it come to life,” he said. “It’s been a long road and (the Sailors are) ready to get out of the shipyard.”
The submarine arrives in the fleet as the second Virginia-class vessel, and it will be homeported at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the ceremony’s principal speaker, said the warship stands as a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to stand up to extremism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“America has learned the hard way the best guarantor of peace is a strong military,” Cornyn said. “Our nation builds weapons of war so we may live in peace.”
The high-tech attack boat, with a crew of 134, sails into history as a member of the first post-Cold War class of submarines designed for battlespace dominance against 21st century adversaries lurking in deep waters, near shore environments, or on land.
The 377-foot-long submarine, with a displacement of more than 7,800 tons submerged, has the capability to travel more than 25 knots and dive below 800 feet. It has the ability to carry torpedoes, mines, and cruise missiles, and transport Naval Special Warfare SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) around the world.
“Texas is a very elegant ship, but it is very lethal,” said Mike Petters, president of Northrup Grumman Newport News in Newport News, Va., the ship's lead builder in partnership with Groton, Conn.-based General Dynamics Electric Boat.
Virginia-class submarines rank as the first to have an information systems technology division because of the heavy use of computers aboard the vessel. For example, photonics masts that don’t penetrate the hull have replaced the traditional periscope, and more than 60 computer and information screens fill the control room. The nuclear-powered submarine’s reactor plant will not require refueling during the boat’s planned lifespan.
The Navy has a planned class size of 30 vessels. More than 4,000 suppliers in 47 states and the District of Columbia produce millions of parts for the submarines.
Petty Officer 1st Class Barber is assigned to the COMSUBLANT public affairs office in Norfolk, Va.
Texas crewmembers run aboard her, following the command to man the ship given by first lady Laura Bush.