WAVY, Joe Fisher
1 Aug 2015
NORFOLK, Va. – The U.S. Navy’s newest attack submarine is now commissioned and ready to fight off enemy forces.
The USS John Warner was officially added to the fleet Saturday at a commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, the future home port of the high-powered vessel.
“I mean, look at it. It’s slender. It’s black. It’s ominous and it’s all about war-fighting,” said Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert. ”
More than 2,500 people attended the ceremony for the vessel that will be operated by more than 130 crew members.
The USS John Warner is Lt.j.g. Kyle O’Leary’s first assignment since graduating from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“He compares it to a calling. It’s something he always wanted to do,” said Jane O’Leary, who says the commissioning is the culmination of her son’s hard work. “He works practically day and night, 18-hour shifts, getting to
know his crew, getting to know what he needs to do (and) meeting all the other officers. Being a brand new ship, they needed to learn how to become cohesive.”
The USS John Warner weighs 7,800 tons and is 377 feet long. Adm. Greenert says the nuclear-powered attack submarine will provide dominance out at sea.
“It has a very capable weapons systems; Including cruise missiles, torpedoes, mines and countermeasures,” said Greenert.
The ship’s motto is ‘On A Mission To Protect Freedom,’ and many say its namesake, John Warner, carried out that motto as a seaman and while representing Virginia throughout his 30-year stay in the U.S. Senate.
“He went to work every single day trying to figure out how he helps his constituents, how he helps his state and how he helps his country,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Warner says he believes the new ship will make the Navy much strong underwater, and it will help turn around the current tide of terrorism in America.
“America stands tall, but we must call upon our allies to build their Navies, to build their armed forces and to stand tall with us,” said Warner. “Because the world cannot say, “Oh, leave it to America. Let them do it by themselves.”
Crew members of the USS John Warner must complete additional training and testing the coming months, and the Navy says a long-term deployment is likely more than a year away.
The commissioning marks the beginning of what is expected to be 33 years of service in the water for the sophisticated vessel.
“They are going to go out and make a difference,” said Mrs. O’Leary. “It’s been a long haul for all of them, and they’ve all worked extremely hard. We wish them luck.”