In a public ceremony delayed two years by the pandemic, President Joe Biden commissioned the USS Delaware, a nuclear attack submarine, on Saturday, saying it would boost national security, though it would made no reference to the global turmoil caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“As Commander-in-Chief. I believe it is our sacred obligation as [a] nation to prepare and equip the troops we send into danger and to take care of them and their families when they return home,” he told a crowd of guests and dignitaries gathered by a sunny but cool spring day in a restricted part of the Wilmington wharf.
This latest Navy ship to bear the Delaware name, the president said in brief remarks, “is part of a long tradition of proudly serving our nation and enhancing our nation’s security…not just us, but our allies and partners around the world as well. In fact, it has been doing this for quite some time.
In April 2020, with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, the Delaware was commissioned underwater, a first for a Navy ship. Since then he has been in training.
After the ceremony, the president was to take a private tour of Delaware.
First lady Jill Biden is the submarine’s godmother, a role meant to bring luck to a ship. During her remarks, she exclaimed, “Officers and crew of the USS Delaware, pilot our ship and bring her to life.” The crew replied, “Aye aye, ma’am” and, as she cheered, uniformed sailors ran behind the crowd, then descended onto the submarine and lined up on deck.
Saturday’s commissioning comes amid the war in Ukraine and after Biden announced a budget proposal that proposes spending $795 billion on defense, which would mean a raise for the Pentagon.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said the proposal would “at best leave our armed forces in place” because of inflation. But some progressive Democrats complained it was too much funding after US forces withdrew from Afghanistan last summer.
With a crew of 136 sailors, the Delaware is the 18th Virginia-class fast attack submarine, designed to search and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, and can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to Marine.
The vessel is 377 feet long, can dive to depths over 800 feet and operate at speeds over 25 knots submerged. The submarine is also designed to operate for more than three decades without the need for refueling, according to a Department of Defense press release.
It marks the first time in a century that the name “Delaware” has been used for a Navy ship, according to a Department of Defense statement, and marks the seventh Navy ship named after the state that Biden represented in the Senate for 36 years prior to his terms. as Vice President and President.