The second Virginia-class Block IV nuclear attack submarine commissioned in Connecticut on Saturday.
USS Oregon (SSN-793) ceremonially joined the fleet in a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London after delivering to the Navy in February – five years after the keel was laid in 2017.
“The passion, grit and enthusiasm of Oregon’s crew has carried the ship to sea and were vital to the completion of construction and testing,” said Cmdr. Lacy Lodmell, commanding officer of USS Oregon. “This is without a doubt the finest crew I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.”
The commissioning of Oregon is the first for a Virginia-class attack submarine since the 2020 administrative action that brought USS Vermont (SSN-792) — the first Block IV boat — into the fleet during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, USNI News reported at the time. The last Block III boat, USS Delaware (SSN-791), was commissioned underway shortly before Vermont.
“This is the first in-person commissioning ceremony of a submarine in more than three years, and that’s a long time to delay celebrations like this one,” Tommy Ross, performing the duties of Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition said during the ceremony on Saturday.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected Virginia-class sub builders General Dynamics Electric Boat and HII and delayed attack boat production at both yards.
“I think the record should be clear that despite that unprecedented disruption, you showed up for work every day and did your job,” Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said during the ceremony.
The Block IV boats are planned to go out on 15 deployments and enter three planned availabilities. Virginia-class Block I, II and III submarines have four planned availabilities and 14 deployments across the life of the boats, according to the Navy.
The next Block IV boat, Montana (SSN-794) delivered in March and is set to commission next month in Norfolk, Va.