US Navy Welcomes 1st Submarine Named After Delaware

tour of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Delaware
Sea Cadets from U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Alexandria Division, receive a tour of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Delaware (SSN 791) from Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class Ryun Lewis, March 7, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo/Cameron Stoner)

WASHINGTON — The first U.S. Navy submarine named after the state of Delaware was officially welcomed to the fleet over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Defense announced.

The USS Delaware, a fast attack submarine, was commissioned administratively and transitioned to normal operations Saturday, Navy officials said in a statement. The submarine is the first Navy vessel to carry the state's name in nearly 100 years, officials said.

A public ceremony for the boat had been set for Saturday at the Port of Wilmington, but was canceled last month to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said the Navy is looking to celebrate the vessel publicly in the future, news outlets reported.

The submarine is longer than a football field, weighs about 7,800 tons (7,075 metric tons), can stay underwater for up to three months and can operate for more than 30 years without refueling, according to the Department of Defense. It is manned by 135 sailors.

Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, sponsored the submarine. She christened the boat at a ceremony in Newport News, Virginia, in 2018.

“I know this submarine and her crew of courageous sailors will carry the steadfast strength of my home state wherever they go,” she said in a statement.

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