Navy to name new submarine USS Utah; what’s in a name

The USS Minnesota, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine | Image courtesy Wikipedia

SALT LAKE CITY – A new submarine will be the first combat vessel in many years to carry a name from Utah. In a ceremony set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, a Virginia-class attack submarine is expected to be named the USS Utah.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is scheduled to make the announcement at the state Capitol, 350 State Street in Salt Lake City, a statement from Gov. Herbert’s office said.

Virginia-class attack submarines provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century, the statement said. They have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.

Virginia-class nuclear submarines weigh 7,800 tons and are 377 feet long, and can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct longterm, covert surveillance. The submarine’s nuclear reactor does not need refueling for the life of the ship.

The submarine will be built under an agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division with both companies building portions of each submarine and then alternating deliveries. The USS Utah will be delivered by General Dynamics, located in Groton, Connecticut.

Rich history

The first USS Utah, a Florida class battleship built in 1911 | Image courtesy
The first USS Utah, a Florida-class battleship built in 1911 | Image courtesy, St. George News

This will be the second vessel to bear the name “USS Utah,” according to

The first USS Utah was built in 1911, a Florida class of dreadnought battleship which was later converted to a target ship for training. The ship was in port at Pearl Harbor in 1941 and was struck and sunk during the Japanese attack.

A funeral service was held in 2003 for “Baby Nancy,” an infant who died at birth and whose ashes were onboard the USS Utah when it sank, according to information from a U.S. Navy article.

Nancy’s father, Albert Wagner, had planned to scatter the baby’s ashes at sea but did not get the chance before the vessel sunk at Pearl Harbor, the article states. Wagner survived the attack, but when he died in 1975 the ashes were still aboard the USS Utah.

The baby’s twin sister, Mary Kreigh, became the public relations director for the USS Utah Association and was present at the 2003 funeral service. The baby’s ashes remain aboard the sunken vessel.

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  • .... January 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    So how much did the church get to let the navy name a submarine after church property ?

    • ladybugavenger January 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      They dipped into the tithe to pay for the name to be used?

  • 42214 January 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    I like it. USS Utah, nuke sub.

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