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From The Day: Carrying on legacy of service, submarine Colorado is christened

Groton — With two whacks of a bottle of sparkling wine from a vineyard in the capitol of the ship’s namesake state, which was chilled in a bucket of Colorado River water, a daughter of the secretary of the Navy christened the future submarine Colorado in a ceremony Saturday.

Annie Mabus was 19 when, in the kitchen of her family’s Mississippi home, her dad, Ray Mabus, told her she’d be the ship’s sponsor. Then the Colorado was a plan on a piece of paper, she said, and she had no concept of what a sponsor was.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of hands have transformed her from an idea into an awe-inspiring presence behind me,” she said.

For the christening, the 370-plus-foot submarine was in the main assembly hall of Electric Boat’s Groton shipyard — as opposed to floating in the water, as is tradition — to allow for it to be in the right spot at the right time to finish testing, according to EB’s Chief Operating Officer Kurt Hesch.

Hundreds of people gathered around the submarine in the frigid, open-air building, bundled up in jackets and wrapped in blue and white scarves — with the words “USS Colorado SSN-788” and the state’s symbol — given out by the commissioning committee.

Seven World War II veterans, all around the age of 90, of the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45), attended the ceremony and presented the crew with pens made out of teak wood from the battleship’s deck.

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