Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next five Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, the USS Colorado, the USS Indiana, and the USS South Dakota.
Mabus named the Virginia-class submarines to honor the great contributions and support these states have given the military through the years.
“Each of these five states serves as home to military bases that support our national defense and provides men and women who volunteer to serve their country,” Mabus said. “I look forward to these submarines joining the fleet and representing these great states around the world.”
None of the five states has had a ship named for it for more than 49 years. The most recent to serve was the battleship the USS Indiana, which was decommissioned in October 1963.
The selection of Illinois, designated SSN 786, is the second ship to bear the state name and is home to the Navy’s one and only Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes where every enlisted sailor begins his or her service.
The selection of Washington, designated SSN 787, is the third ship to bear the state name and the state’s Puget Sound area, where the Navy’s third-largest fleet concentration is located.
The selection of Colorado, designated SSN 788, is the third ship to bear the state name. The second ship was a battleship that stood as the lead ship of her class and took part in the Tarawa invasion.
The selection of Indiana, designated SSN 789, is the third ship to bear the state name and is the home to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Navy’s premier engineering, acquisition and sustainment organization which supports our maritime warriors.
The selection of South Dakota, designated SSN 790, is the third ship to bear the state name. The second ship was a battleship that also stood as the lead ship of her class and fought extensively in the Pacific theater during World War II.
“Prior ships carrying the names of these five states stood as defenders of freedom on the water. Now these states will represent the latest and greatest technology ever assembled to submerge below the surface and project power forward,” Mabus said.
So, just for the record....
USS Illinois (BB 7) - one of three Illinois-class battleships, commissioned 16 Sep 1901
Illinois (BB 65) - one of six Iowa-class battleships, laid down 15 Jan 1945 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; canceled 12 Aug 1945
USS Washington (ACR 11) - one of four Tennessee-class armoured cruisers, commissioned 7 Aug 1906
USS Washington (BB 56) - one of two North Carolina-class battleships, commissioned 15 May 1941
(There were six previous ships named USS Washington, but according to DANFS they were named after the president, not the state.)
USS Colorado (ACR 7) - one of six Pennsylvania-class armoured cruisers, commissioned 19 Jan 1905
USS Colorado (BB 45) - one of three Colorado-class battleships, commissioned 30 Aug 1923
(There was one previous USS Colorado, named for the river rather than the state.)
USS Indiana (BB 1) - one of three Indiana-class battleships, commissioned 20 Nov 1895
Indiana (BB 50) - one of six South Dakota-class battleships, laid down 1 Nov 1920 at the New York Navy Yard; construction was cancelled 8 Feb 1922 in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty.
USS Indiana (BB 58) - one of four South Dakota-class battleships, commissioned 30 Apr 1942
USS South Dakota (ACR 9) - one of six Pennsylvania-class armoured cruisers, commissioned 27 Jan 1908
South Dakota (BB 49) - one of six South Dakota-class battleships, laid down 15 Mar 1920 at the New York Navy Yard; construction was suspended 8 Feb 1922 in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty and the unfinished hull was sold 25 Oct 1923
USS South Dakota (BB 57) - one of four South Dakota-class battleships, commissioned 20 Mar 1942