PCU Colorado (SSN 788)

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About the Boat

When and where is the commissioning ceremony?
The commissioning ceremony will be held at Naval Submarine Base New London on March 17, 2018.

How many other submarines does the U.S. Navy currently have?
There are currently three classes of SSNs (attack submarines) in service; the Los Angeles, Sea Wolf and Virginia class (50 in total). The Navy also has guided missile submarines and ballistic missile submarines too.

What makes the Virginia class different?
The Virginia-class submarines are better capable to operate in littoral waters. They additionally can be configured to support special operations forces (SOF) by converting a torpedo room into an area for SOF personnel and their equipment. Additionally, diving operations can occur with greater ease due to a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

Where was the Colorado constructed?
Virginia-class submarines are built under a joint construction contract between General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding. GD Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding are the only two U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear-powered vessels.

When was the keel laid?
March 7, 2015

When was the ship christened?
December 3, 2016

When did PCU Colorado pass the required inspections by the Navy?
Colorado successfully completed the independent Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) trials, which evaluates the submarine’s seaworthiness and operational capabilities. During INSURV trials, the crew took the submarine to test depth and tested the submarine’s propulsion plant and material readiness. The sub was delivered to the Navy on Sept. 21, 2017.

Who is USS Colorado’s sponsor?
The ship’s sponsor for USS Colorado is Annie Mabus. Annie was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Early in her life, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, served as ambassador to the Kingdom. She returned to Mississippi for her schooling and remained there through high school. During that time, she also traveled, studying in France and seeing much of the world. Annie is a swimmer, who has competed throughout her life, winning a state championship as a high school junior.

Annie attended New York University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed several internships at major art institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She graduated with honors from NYU in 2014 and has remained in New York. After graduation, she was appointed VIP manager at the Museum of American Art’s summer music series, and currently assists an art and cultural advisor with international projects. Annie plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

The Navy plays an immensely important role in Annie’ life. With her father’s appointment as secretary, Annie was welcomed into the Navy family and created life-long friendships with many Sailors and Marines. She was named an honorary member of the U. S. Naval Academy’s 23rd Company in recognition of her close connection with the academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen. Her place within the Navy family was cemented when she was named ship sponsor of Colorado, and she looks forward to a lifelong relationship with the submarine and its crew.

When was the ship named?
The Secretary of the Navy announced June 25, 2012, that SSN-788, the 15th Virginia-class submarine, would be named after the state of Colorado.

How big is the PCU Colorado?
377 ft. long; 34 ft. wide; approximately 7,800 tons submerged

How fast can the PCU Colorado go?
25+ knots submerged

What history does the USS Colorado name have in the Navy?
There have been two ships in the U.S. Navy named after the state of Colorado and one named after the Colorado River.

  • The first USS Colorado (Screw Frigate) was a 3500-ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War she participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the first naval engagement of the Civil War when she attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. She captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers.
  • The second USS Colorado (AC 7) was an armored cruiser of the 13,900 ton-Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific. She was renamed Pueblo on Nov. 9, 1916, to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period, she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships.
  • The third USS Colorado (BB 45) was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on Aug. 30, 1923. She displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She served in European waters in 1923 and 1924 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served with the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937. She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII. She supported operations in the Gilberts, Marshalls (Enitwetok and Kwajalein), Marianas (Saipan and Guram), Leyte, Luzon (Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf), Okinawa and Tinian. On July 24, 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties to topside personnel. Colorado’s next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes. She was tied up next to USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. She was decommissioned in 1947.

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Biographies

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2018) Pre-Commissioning Unit Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Reed Koeep, Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col and Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter post for a photo. Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and is scheduled to be commissioned March 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2018) Pre-Commissioning Unit Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Reed Koeep, Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col and Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter post for a photo. Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and is scheduled to be commissioned March 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)

Commanding Officer
Cmdr. Gregory R. Koepp II, a native of Picayune, Mississippi, graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. He received his commission through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program after completing Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. Upon completion of nuclear power training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course in 2002, Koepp reported onboard USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) in King’s Bay, Georgia, serving as a division officer in engineering and tactics while completing four strategic deterrent patrols. In 2005, he reported ashore to Commander, Navy Recruiting Command as Nuclear Training and Accessions Officer.

Following Submarine Officer Advanced Course in 2007, Koepp relieved as the Navigation and Operations Officer onboard USS Virginia (SSN 774) in Groton, Connecticut. During this tour, the ship deployed to the Europe and Africa areas of responsibility, and was awarded the Battle “E” in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he reported ashore to Commander Submarine Squadron Four as the Squadron Operations Officer in Groton.

In 2013, upon completion of Submarine Command Course, Koepp relieved as Executive Officer onboard USS Buffalo (SSN 715) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During this tour, the ship completed a Pre-Inactivation Restricted Availability and a Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Surge Deployment. In 2015, he reported ashore to Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, South Carolina as executive officer.

Koepp has completed a Masters in Engineering Management degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Joint Professional Military Education through the Air University Air Command and Staff College and National Defense University.

Executive Officer
Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col is a native of Modesto, California. He was selected for the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computational Physics from University of Nevada – Las Vegas and commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 2003.

Following completion of nuclear power training, he reported to USS Alaska (SSBN 732) (GOLD) in 2005 where he served as Electrical Assistant, Main Propulsion Assistant, Damage Control Assistant, and Assistant Engineer. USS Alaska (GOLD) completed two strategic deterrent patrols, one Commander’s Evaluation Test, and a change of homeport to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an Engineered Refueling Overhaul.

Following Submarine Officer Advanced Course in 2010, Col reported to USS Topeka (SSN 754) as the engineer officer. While onboard, the ship completed deployments to U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility and to the Western Pacific, and conducted an Arctic transit to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for an Engineered Overhaul.

Col reported to PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in October 2015 as executive officer.

Ashore, his assignments have included earning a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Acoustics from Naval Postgraduate School, and Naval Submarine School.

Chief of the Boat
ETVCM (SS) Freddie Richter was born in Garfield, New Jersey, and entered the Navy in May of 1999. Upon completion of recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois and Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) in Groton, Connecticut, he attended Electronics Technician “A” School in Groton.

His first operational command was onboard USS Honolulu (SSN 718) in Pearl Harbor, HI. Onboard Honolulu, he completed his submarine warfare qualification, two Western Pacific deployments and one U.S. Central Command deployment before attending Electronics Technician “C” School in Groton. Upon graduation, he transferred to the USS Helena (SSN 725) in April 2004 as the navigation leading petty officer. Following his tour onboard USS Helena, Richter reported to Submarine Learning Facility (SLF) in Norfolk in June 2006. It was on this tour where he was advanced to chief petty officer and qualified as a master training specialist.

Following his tour at SLF, he reported back to Pearl Harbor onboard the USS Hawaii (SSN 776) for duty as the assistant navigator. He completed two highly successful Western Pacific deployments, earned the 2010 and 2012 SUBRON 1 Battle “E”, two consecutive Red and Green Navigation “N”, advanced to the rank of senior chief petty officer and completed qualification as a chief of the boat.

In June 2013, he reported as the assistant navigator on the staff of Naval Submarine School where he trained future submarine assistant navigators while preparing 18 homeported submarines for deployment to the North Atlantic and Middle East area of responsibility and was advanced to master chief petty officer.

In November 2015, he was selected to serve as a chief of the boat, completed the Senior Enlisted Academy course and Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat Capstone course before reporting to the PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in May 2016 as chief of the boat.

Ship’s Sponsor
Annie Mabus was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Early in her life, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, served as ambassador to the Kingdom. She returned to Mississippi for her schooling and remained there through high school. During that time, she also traveled, studying in France and seeing much of the world. Annie is a swimmer, who has competed throughout her life, winning a state championship as a high school junior.

Annie attended New York University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed several internships at major art institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She graduated with honors from NYU in 2014 and has remained in New York. After graduation, she was appointed VIP manager at the Museum of American Art’s summer music series, and currently assists an art and cultural advisor with international projects. Annie plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

The Navy plays an immensely important role in Annie’ life. With her father’s appointment as secretary, Annie was welcomed into the Navy family and created life-long friendships with many Sailors and Marines. She was named an honorary member of the U. S. Naval Academy’s 23rd Company in recognition of her close connection with the academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen. Her place within the Navy family was cemented when she was named ship sponsor of Colorado, and she looks forward to a lifelong relationship with the submarine and its crew.

Commander, Submarine Forces/Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic
Commander, Allied Submarine Command
Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo grew up in upstate New York and graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He also holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Catholic University of America. His father was a 35-year career naval officer and his mother, a Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVE) – one of the first enlisted women in the Navy.

A career submarine officer, his at-sea assignments include: USS Flasher, USS Michigan and USS Montpelier. His at-sea command assignments were as commanding officer, USS Maine and commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 3.

Staff assignments include: three assignments on Commander, Submarine Forces staff; two assignments on Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces staff; four assignments on the chief of naval operations staff; U.S. Joint Forces Command; and the Joint Staff.

Selected for rear admiral in December 2009, his first flag assignment was as assistant deputy chief of staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. In August 2011, he relieved as commander, Submarine Group 10, and in December 2013 as director, Undersea Warfare on the chief of naval operations staff in the Pentagon.

Tofalo assumed his current duties in September 2015. As commander, Submarine Forces he is the Undersea Domain lead, and is responsible for the submarine force’s strategic vision. As commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, he commands all Atlantic-based U.S. submarines, their crews and supporting shore activities. These responsibilities also include duties as commander, Task Force (CTF) 144, CTF 84; commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Forces Western Atlantic; and CTF 46. As commander, Allied Submarine Command, he provides advice to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Strategic Commanders on submarine related issues.

Naval Submarine Base New London Commanding Officer
Capt. Paul Whitescarver became the 51st commanding officer of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton in December 2015.
A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Whitescarver enlisted in the Navy in August 1980, serving 11 years in the enlisted ranks before being selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. Graduating from Virginia Tech in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, he then completed his initial officer nuclear power and submarine training.

At sea, he has served in the submarines USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), and USS Alabama (SSBN 731). Whitescarver commanded USS Scranton (SSN 752) from 2009 to 2012.

Ashore, his assignments have included service on the Joint Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations staffs. On the Joint Staff, he was the executive assistant for the deputy for Force Application and director for Chemical, Radiological, Biological and Nuclear Defense in the Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate, J-8. On the CNO staff, he was Nuclear Enlisted Program and community manager for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the Chief of Naval Personnel, N-1.

Prior to taking command of Naval Submarine Base New London, he most recently served of the staff of Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic (CSL) in Norfolk, as the operations officer.

Among various personal and unit awards, Whitescarver was the recipient of the Naval Submarine League Charles Lockwood Award for Submarine Excellence in 2001. He is also a graduate of Naval Post Graduate School with a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs.

Boat’s Crest

USS Colorado's Crest

The crest of USS Colorado (SSN 788) is contained within the silhouette of the head of a charging mustang, symbolizing the determined nature of the great state of Colorado. This nature of unbridled determination will carry on in the attitude of the crew of Colorado. The fundamental elements of the background are derived from the state of Colorado. Above the waterline lies the white, snow-covered Rocky Mountains standing tall over the landscape and concealing destructive power within their icy ridges. These mountains represent the mighty and majestic nature of submarines. Upon the reflection in the water rests a submarine, representing USS Colorado, transiting forward, into the unknown. Along the collar of the horse lie seven stars that represent the Battle Stars awarded to the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) for exemplary service in World War II, and reflect the spirit of excellence present in the crew aboard the new USS Colorado. Finally, the Latin motto, Terra Marique Indomila translates to “untamed by land and sea.” Although only three words and a straightforward translation, the motto actually has three distinct meanings:

  • Terra: Untamed by land throughout history
  • Marique: Untamed by the sea
  • Terra Marique Indomita

Together, the motto recognizes the spirit of USS Colorado, both the ship and her crew, a spirit that remains untamed by the rugged terrain and weather extremes of land, and untamed by the rough waves and dark depths of the sea.

From late 2014 into early 2015, the commissioning committee coordinated a competition to design the official crest of the USS Colorado. In April 2015, after receiving over 100 submissions from all across the world, the committee and the crew of PCU Colorado evaluated the submissions and ultimately selected the design of Michael F. Nielson, to serve as the ship’s official crest. After the selection, the designer was contacted to provide some personal background information and finalize the design. It was at that time the command and the committee learned that the designer was both a naval officer and Colorado native who was completing initial training for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and had orders to report to PCU Colorado. After completion of his training in October 2015, Lt. j.g. Nielson reported to PCU Colorado as one of the first two junior officers.

History

Evolution of Subs Infographic

The Traditions of Ship Commissionings

Ship Commissionings Infographic

Colorado I (Screw Frigate)

Colorado II (Armored Cruiser No. 7)

Colorado III (BB-45)


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PCU Colorado (SSN 788)

Diving with Sharks

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Shark-Panel-croppedIn honor of Shark Week, we’ve compiled some interesting facts about the Defense Department’s ties to sharks.

Fact #2:

Navy divers spend some of their time getting into SHARK tanks in aquariums around the country…on purpose! The Navy’s community relations efforts send sailors out into communities that don’t have a large Navy presence so that those communities can understand what their country’s sea service can and does do every day. This type of public engagement – including diving into shark tanks at your local aquarium – is crucial to engendering trust and confidence with our fellow Americans in their all volunteer force.

Want to know more about Navy divers? Here is their job description from the Navy:

As a Navy Diver, you will be part of an extraordinary brotherhood. You will journey anywhere from the darkest depths of the world’s oceans to freezing arctic-like conditions underneath icebergs. Accomplishing a number of tasks only few can perform. All with the focus to achieve.

In this role you can expect to:

  • Perform a variety of diving salvage operations and special diving duties worldwide
  • Take part in construction and demolition projects
  • Execute search and rescue missions
  • Support military and civilian law enforcement agencies
  • Serve as the technical experts for diving evolutions for numerous military Special Operations units
  • Provide security, communications and other logistics during Expeditionary Warfare missions
  • Carry out routine ship maintenance, including restoration and repair

Your strength and determination will prove you are anything but a typical diver.

Editor’s Note: “Dive in shark tanks” has been submitted as a revision to this job description via the U.S. Navy.

Have you seen a Navy diver in a tank near you? Share your story in the comments section below!

Today’s photos all come to us with the same caption:
Navy Master Chief Diver Joe Howard answers questions from the crowd while “swimming” with the sharks at the Newport, Ky., Aquarium, Sept. 1, 2011, during Cincinnati Navy Week 2011.  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Davis Anderson/Released)

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Diving with Sharks

Worth A Thousand Words: Red Warrior

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Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Carver, assigned to Oregon Army National Guard’s, Bravo Company, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, emerges from a red plume of smoke, during an urban assault challenge, while competing in the nation best warrior competition, July 24, 2013 in Little Rock, AR. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. Betty Boyce/Released)

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Carver, assigned to Bravo Company, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Oregon Army National Guard, emerges from a red plume of smoke during an urban assault challenge while competing in the 2013 Army National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition on Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Ark., July 24, 2013. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. Betty Boyce/Released)

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Worth A Thousand Words: Red Warrior

Locks of Love

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A few years ago, a college friend of mine had mentioned that she wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love. I had never heard of it before, so I decided to look it up. Basically, the organization takes donated hair and turns it into wigs for needy children who have lost their own hair. Excellent idea!

Now, it does take quite a long time for hair to grow long. So, donating all of your hair to the organization is most certainly a good cause. One particular Army Captain is doing just that.

It takes years for hair to grow long, but only a few seconds to remove it. Army Sergeant Rebecca Schwab tells us about one Army Captain who’s giving it all up for a good cause.

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Locks of Love

Worth A Thousand Words: Say Goodbye Girls

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Photo: A Marine bids farewell to his wife and two daughters as elements of the famed Second Marine Division leave for the West Coast. Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval History & Heritage Command.

A Marine bids farewell to his wife and two daughters as elements of the famed Second Marine Division leave for the West Coast, Aug. 1950. (U.S. Marine Corps photo courtesy of Naval History & Heritage Command/Released)

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Worth A Thousand Words: Say Goodbye Girls

Army Freedom File Update

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With the war in Afghanistan starting to be controlled by Afghan troops, American troops train them in proper tactics, and techniques to keep them and civilians safe.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.

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Army Freedom File Update

Worth A Thousand Words: I Got Your Back

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Photo: Sailors prepare to attach pallets to an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 49 during a vertical replenishment on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) on July 7, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Kelly/ Released)

Sailors prepare to attach pallets to an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 49 during a vertical replenishment on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) on July 7, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Kelly/Released)

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Worth A Thousand Words: I Got Your Back

Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors Annex Opens

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Featured in this All Hands Update, a new Wounded, Ill and Injured Annex opens up in at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.

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Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors Annex Opens