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PCU Washington to honor the state

An upcoming addition to the submarine fleet and an honor to the state of Washington

The bow units of Washington (SSN 787) and Colorado (SSN 788) fill one side of the Supplemental Modular Outfitting Facility (SMOF). Photo credit: Ricky Thompson

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The newest addition to the submarine community is currently under construction across the country in Newport News, Virginia, but she already has strong ties to the Pacific Northwest. PCU Washington (SSN 787), named after the state of Washington, will be the next of the Virginia-class submarines to be commissioned and do its part in maintaining the freedom of the seas.

PCU Washington (SSN 787) is the third U.S. Navy warship to be named in honor of the state of Washington, but the first since World War II. In 1906, USS Washington (AC-11) became the first but was later renamed USS Seattle in 1916, and in 1941, the USS Washington (BB-56) was commissioned and became the second vessel to carry the name of our great state. Six other vessels have been named Washington in the past, though each of those were named in honor of the first President of the United States, President George Washington.

In 2008, a $14 billion contract was awarded by the Navy for eight Virginia-class submarines - Block II of this phase of new subs. PCU Washington received its name in February 2013 and celebrated the keel laying ceremony in November 2014. It is scheduled to be christened on March of 2016 by sponsor, Elizabeth Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, and commissioning is slated for summer 2016.

PCU Washington is a Virginia-class submarine. Upon completion, it will measure 377 feet long and 34 feet at the beam, and will be capable of 25+ knots when submerged. PCU Washington will house a 134-member crew and will be officially homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The official emblem and uniform patch of PCU Washington has been designed to include many iconic images representative of its namesake state of Washington, including images of the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, and a submarine decorated in Native American inspired artwork, as well as representing the vessels who bore the name before with six hollow stars for the original six ships and two gold stars for those vessels named after the state of Washington. Also included is the ship's hull number, SSN 787, separated by a silhouette of George Washington, and the ship's name and logo, "Preserving Peace, Prepared for War."

In the coming weeks, a small contingent of PCU Washington sailors will be visiting Naval Base Kitsap and will take part in many activities here in their command's namesake state. Members of command leadership, including CDR Jason Schneider (CO), LCDR Brian Rhodes (XO), and ITSCM(SS) Adam Burchette (COB), will spend a week in Washington meeting with Naval Base Kitsap leadership and attending a Naval League luncheon and Veterans Day ceremonies, as well as taking in the sites of Washington during their visit.

According to Navy League representative Alan Beam, the Navy League Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Chapter has officially adopted PCU Washington and is in the process of raising funds for its commissioning ceremony and festivities. The Navy League takes great pride in its many adopted programs, but for Washington state chapters, sponsoring and supporting a ship bearing the name of their home state will be especially rewarding. 

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