Keel laid for second US submarine named after nuclear navy pioneer

The US Navy laid the keel for future Virginia-class submarine Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795) in a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut, on May 11.

L:R Director, Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, Adm. John Richardson; Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert; Mrs. Darleen Greenert, sponsor for Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795) attend the naming ceremony in January 2015. Photo: US Navy

The initials of the submarine’s sponsor, Darleen Greenert, were welded onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the submarine. She is the wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert (retired).

The submarine began construction on Sept. 30, 2015, and is on track to be delivered within budget and ready for tasking by the fleet, according to the navy.

This will be the second submarine to be named after Adm. Hyman G. Rickover to honor the pioneer of the nuclear Navy. The first submarine named for the admiral was the Los Angeles-Class submarine USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), which served from 1984 to 2006.

Adm. Frank Caldwell, Jr., director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, stated, “Adm. Rickover’s gift to our Nation’s defense – safe, reliable and militarily superior naval nuclear propulsion – is as vital to our warfighting edge today as it was at the beginning of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program 70 years ago. The US Navy and our nation are proud to honor his achievements and legacy with this submarine.”

Adm. Rickover served for 63 years on active duty service, making him the longest serving member of the US armed forces in history. In the late 1940s, Adm. Rickover was made director of the Naval Reactors Branch of the Bureau of Ships and he subsequently led the efforts to develop what would become the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. Adm. Rickover also established and enforced strict safety standards, leading to the US Navy’s safety record of over 162,000,000 miles safely steamed on nuclear power.

Other Virginia-class milestones this year include the commissioning of the USS Indiana (SSN 789) and the combined keel laying and christening of USS Vermont (SSN 792), both currently projected to occur in the fall.