USS Idaho to be christened in March

USS Idaho
The USS IDAHO crew and Electric Boat employees in front of the future USS IDAHO SSN 799 in October 2023. Photo courtesy General Dynamics Electric Boat via the USS IDAHO Commissioning Committee.

The U.S. Navy’s newest Virginia-class submarine, the future USS Idaho (SSN 799), will be formally christened and named on Saturday, March 16, at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut.

At the event, in a long-standing naval tradition, ship sponsor Terry Stackley will christen the submarine in the traditional manner with a bottle. In a uniquely Idahoan twist, rather than breaking a bottle of champagne on the boat’s hull, Stackley will christen it with a bottle containing water that she has collected from four of Idaho’s lakes, Lake Pend Oreille, Payette Lake, Henrys Lake and Redfish Lake. This is the first U.S. Navy warship that will bear the name USS Idaho in more than 100 years; the battleship USS Idaho BB42 was christened in June 1917.

Stackley is no stranger to the Navy. Her father served and worked in private shipyards throughout the eastern seaboard, including Electric Boat Groton in the 1960s. Her connection to the Navy continued to grow after meeting her husband, Sean, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition from 2008 to 2017. Stackley dedicated nearly four decades as a navy wife and will now dedicate her time to serving Idaho and the future USS Idaho crew throughout the submarine’s service life.

The christening is the third of five major events in the life of a U.S. Navy warship before she joins the U.S. Navy fleet and is deemed ready for combat. Generally, this process takes about five years. The first event was the naming of the vessel. The second event was the keel-laying ceremony, officially marking the beginning of construction. The keel-laying took place on August 24, 2020 in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. After this third event, the USS Idaho christening, the submarine will undergo a rigorous curriculum of sea trials to ensure that the performance of the ship is in accordance with its plans and specifications. After this rigorous series of tests, which should take about a year, the vessel will be accepted by the U.S. Navy in a commissioning ceremony prior to becoming an active part of our nation’s military strategy.

The USS Idaho Commissioning Committee has worked in partnership with the U.S. Navy since the inception of this new warship in our role of creating the bond between the people of Idaho and those who will serve in defense of our great state and nation aboard the future USS Idaho.

Our advisory board is actively chaired by former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne and our committee is made up of a myriad of Idaho business leaders, former military members, and a great many ordinary Idahoans who believe in the mission of the U.S. Navy and its newest submarine, the future USS Idaho.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event; to celebrate the naming of a navy ship for the great state of Idaho, to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans, to recognize the incredible navy history and navy legacy our state has and to recognize the amazing contribution our state has made to the acoustic stealth and nuclear power technology of our submarine force,” said Kempthorne.

Over the past few years, the USS Idaho Commissioning Committee hosted seven visits to Idaho for the submarine’s crewmembers as they work to become mission ready prior to the submarine’s commissioning and upcoming sea trials. One goal of our committee is to build and enhance the bond between the sailors of the future USS Idaho and the people of Idaho.

The christening ceremony will be held at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. The USS Idaho Commissioning Committee will host watch parties at various locations around the state. Please periodically visit the committee website for announcements of the start times and more details.