The U.S. Navy has begun the process of building its most advanced nuclear attack submarine, the Virginia-class USS IDAHO, designated as SSN 799. It is the 26th ship of this class and will be the fifth Navy vessel to bear the name of Idaho.
The last Navy ship with the name USS IDAHO was commissioned in 1919. Battleship BB42, known as “The Big Spud,” served with distinction during WWII. This latest vessel will likely be christened in the summer of 2022 and then commissioned and enter active service with the U.S. Navy late in the summer of 2023, once sea trials have been completed.
The first event in the construction of the new USS IDAHO was the keel-laying ceremony which took place in August 2020 at the General Dynamics Electric Boat facility in North Kingston, Rhode Island. Participants in that event included the ship’s sponsor, Ms. Teresa Stackley, and former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, the USS IDAHO Commissioning Committee’s advisory board chairman.
“I was honored to participate in the keel-laying ceremony last summer,” Kempthorne said. “Now we have the opportunity to help customize this state-of-the-art submarine with Idaho memorabilia, artwork, photographs and other reminders to the officers and sailors that the people of our great state stand with them as they carry out their roles in our nation’s defense. With the help of Idahoans and our businesses, the legacy will continue throughout the submarine’s lifespan as we are working to establish a scholarship endowment to advance the education of USS IDAHO sailors and their family members.”
While generally considered a landlocked state, Idaho has a long legacy of providing support to the U.S. Navy. During WWII, thousands of sailors trained at Naval Camp Farragut near Athol from 1942 – 1946.
The University of Idaho provided radio operator training to sailors from 1942- 1945, and the Navy has operated the Naval Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview since 1955. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) near Arco has its roots as a U.S. Navy artillery range. INL was also the home of the Naval Prototype Training Unit where 40,000 sailors trained on nuclear power plant operations from 1945 to 1995.
These are but a few of the contributions of Idaho and our citizens to the U.S. Navy and the other branches of our military. Much more information can be found on the USS Idaho Commissioning Committee’s new website http://ussidahocommittee.org.
The USS IDAHO SSN 779 Commissioning Foundation is an Idaho non-profit corporation and is eligible for Federal Tax-Exempt under IRC Section 501(c)(3) operating under the Idaho Defense Alliance. The Foundation is raising funds for the traditional commissioning week activities and for the benefit of the sailors and family members of its crew.
Businesses and individuals can join with prominent Idaho corporations such as Idaho Power, Albertsons, United Heritage Insurance and others in this historic opportunity. Additional information can be found on the committee’s website at http://ussidahocommittee.org.