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SSN 777 North Carolina

North Carolina (SSN 777) was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn., and Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. The North Carolina is the fourth submarine of the Virginia class. The keel was laid and authenticated for the North Carolina on May 22, 2004 at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. Linda Bowman, wife of Adm. Frank L. "Skip" Bowman, director, Naval Nuclear Reactors, is the boat's sponsor. Her initials were welded onto a metal plate that will be affixed in the submarine's auxiliary machinery room (AMR). U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina was the guest speaker at the keel laying and authentication ceremony.

The submarine is the fourth ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the name North Carolina. The first North Carolina was a 74-gun ship-of-the-line that served from 1820 to 1836. The second North Carolina (ACR 12) was a Tennessee-class armored cruiser that was also built at the Newport News shipyard and served from 1908 to 1921. The third North Carolina (BB 55) was the first of the Navy's modern battleships, serving from 1940 to 1947, earning 12 battle stars for service during World War II. The battleship now serves in Wilmington, N.C., as a memorial for all North Carolinians killed in World War II.

The Virginia class provides the Navy with the capabilities it requires to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. This next-generation attack submarine will have improved stealth and sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.

The pressure hull welding completed in September 2006, with work on the interior of the submarine continuing. In October 2006, the ship's Commanding Officer, Cdr. Mark E. Davis reported aboard. On May 5, 2007, the submarine was lowered into the water for the first time and moved to complete her construction. On December 12, 2007, North Carolina got underway for her first builder's sea trials. The successful trials led to her second builders trials just before Christmas. Following the third and final round of builder's sea trials in February, Northrop Grumman delivered the submarine to the Navy on February 21, 2008.

The ship was brought to life during her commissioning ceremony at the Port of Wilmington in North Carolina on May 4, 2008. More than 6,500 guests, including submarine veterans and battleship North Carolina alumni attended the ceremony welcoming the submarine as the 4th vessel named after the "Tarheel State." The ship's sponsor, Mrs. Linda Anne Rich Bowman gave the order, "Officers and crew of the USS North Carolina, man your ship and bring her to life!" The cermony included speeches made by local and congressional politicians as well as flag officers of the submarine force. The Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, was the principal speaker at the ceremony.




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