Photo by Ashley Cowan

NNS Christens New Jersey

Published November 16, 2021

Newport News Shipbuilding christened Virginia-class submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) Saturday, Nov. 13.

“The christening is a Navy and shipbuilder tradition that celebrates the hard work and dedication of the women and men who are building this magnificent submarine, readying her for the next phase of construction, which includes launch, testing, sea trials and delivery to the Navy,” said NNS President Jennifer Boykin. “We commemorate these American builders during a challenging time in our nation’s history.”

Dr. Susan DiMarco, who is a New Jersey resident, retired dentist and wife of former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, serves as the ship’s sponsor and performed the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the submarine’s bow during the ceremony.

“As citizens today, we are more divided and disconnected from one another than at any time in our last 50 years, but the efforts that went into building New Jersey say otherwise,” DiMarco said. “In order to complete this great ship there must have been… …vital partnership and purpose. As a country, we are cooperative, generous and tenacious, and we can work together on exceptional ideas.”

The ceremony took place outside the Modular Outfitting Facility (MOF) and was attended by more than 1,800 guests, including NNS employees who are building New Jersey, members of the submarine’s crew, Navy personnel and other government officials, including Jeh Johnson.

Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former chief of naval operations, provided the keynote address.

“Today is a day of gratitude, especially to the 4,000 men and women whose hard work put New Jersey together,” said Mullen, adding that the nation must prevail in an ideological battle against an adversary it has not seen before. “The future USS New Jersey will be a critical – some say the most critical – arrow in our quiver.”

New Jersey is the 23rd Virginia-class submarine and will be the 11th delivered by NNS. It is the first submarine designed with a modification for gender integration. Construction began in March 2016 and is 82% complete. The submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in late 2022.

Visit to watch a video of the ceremony and to learn more about New Jersey. Watch a clip of DiMarco breaking the bottle of sparkling wine across the submarine’s bow on MyNNS.