May 9, 2023
HII (NYSE: HII) today christened the Virginia-class submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798) at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.
“Shipbuilding is a noble calling, and you can see our pride in the craftsmanship before you,” NNS President Jennifer Boykin said. “When Massachusetts joins the fleet, she will be the latest in innovation and power, forging ahead in defense of our freedom, just like Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride. As SSN 798 supports the Navy’s critical missions around the world, she will carry with her the patriotism of her shipbuilders.”
Sheryl Sandberg, founder and chair of the Sandberg Goldberg Bernthal Family Foundation, and former chief operating officer of Meta (formerly Facebook), serves as the ship’s sponsor. Sandberg performed the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the submarine’s bow during the ceremony.
“I was raised to be deeply grateful for our freedom and all those who risk their lives to defend it,” Sandberg said. “So it was an honor when then Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus asked me to sponsor Massachusetts eight years ago. I couldn’t be more excited to be in Newport News to celebrate this boat with the shipbuilders who have worked so hard to bring her to life. Today is more than just a christening of a vessel. It is also a celebration of progress. This is one of the first submarines intentionally built to allow both men and women to serve and it will make our military stronger. It is an honor to christen Massachusetts and spend the day with service members, shipbuilders and their families. They are a living legacy of all that America represents.”
The ceremony took place outside of Module Outfitting Facility at NNS and was attended by more than 2,000 guests, including NNS employees who are building Massachusetts, members of the submarine’s crew, Navy personnel and other government officials.
Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven provided the keynote address.
“From design, to delivery, to employment, each person here is making their vital contribution to maintaining our nation’s maritime dominance and the freedom that we all cherish,” Raven told the crowd. “We are able to deploy exquisite capabilities across the globe in great part to our dedicated shipbuilders. These talented women and men are able to turn raw steel into the world’s most sophisticated undersea capabilities.”
Massachusetts is the 25th Virginia-class submarine and the 12th to be delivered by NNS.
“The crew and I are excited to share in this historic event with our sponsor, the shipbuilder, and all our families,” said Cmdr. Mike Siedsma, commanding officer of the pre-commissioning unit. “We look forward to operating Massachusetts in support of our nation’s defense. We are honored to establish the ‘Iron Patriots’ legacy as an enemy to tyrants.”
NNS is one of only two shipyards capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines for the U.S. Navy. The advanced capabilities of Virginia-class submarines increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth.