Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is buzzing with activity of a different sort as teams of shipbuilders put the final touches on preparations for the christening of the Virginia-class submarine John Warner (SSN 785).
The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and is open to invited guests, but a live webcast will be available at: www.warnerchristening.com.
For about a month, a dozen shipbuilders in Newport News’ sail shop have worked to create the 30-foot bow flag that will be front and center during the event. The bow flag was hoisted into place on Sunday. On Monday, another team of shipbuilders spent about eight hours moving the approximately 7,800-ton submarine to the shipyard’s floating dry dock, where it will be moored for the event.
Add to that the seating charts for the projected 9,000 guests, site set-up, the printing of materials and volunteer meetings, and you have a christening event—Newport News Shipbuilding style.
“It takes hard work, commitment and attention to detail by hundreds of shipbuilders across the entire company to transform the shipyard into an event site,” said Jennifer Dunn, Newport News’ director of communications. “From the smallest of details, like the ceremony signage, to the biggest and most visible, like a fireworks show, the christening team is doing an outstanding job to create a unique and memorable experience for our shipbuilders and their families, for our Navy customer, and for Senator Warner, his wife Jeanne, and their friends and family.”
More than 4,000 Newport News shipbuilders have been working to build John Warner since construction began in 2010. The christening will signal another major milestone toward the submarine’s delivery, which is scheduled for 2015.