Bidens honor the Navy's newest submarine at ceremony for USS Delaware

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President Biden and first lady Jill Biden celebrated the formal commissioning of the USS Delaware, the U.S. Navy’s newest fast attack submarine, at a ceremony Saturday in the Bidens’ home state of Delaware. 

“The state of Delaware has loved the Bidens and cheered for us in most of our triumphant moments,” Jill Biden said at the Port of Wilmington ceremony. “It has carried us through the darkest times in our lives with the kindness that asks for nothing in return. Delaware is family.”

President Biden hugs first lady Jill Biden during a commemorative commissioning ceremony for the USS Delaware nuclear submarine at the Port of Wilmington, Del., April 2, 2022.
(REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

Jill Biden is the ship’s sponsor, so the president gave a very brief speech to introduce his wife.

“My name is Joe Biden. I am Jill’s husband,” the president said. 

He paid tribute to his wife’s long-standing commitment to the military and thanked those who brought the warship to life.

“As your commander in chief, I believe, it is our sacred obligation as a nation to prepare and equip those troops that we send into harm’s way and to care for them and their families when they return home,” Biden said.

The USS Delaware is a Virginia-class fast attack, nuclear-powered submarine.  It’s the seventh naval warship named after the first state of Delaware. Construction on the warship began in 2013.

U.S. first lady Jill Biden waves at a commemorative commissioning ceremony for the USS Delaware nuclear submarine at the Port of Wilmington, Del., April 2, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

The submarine is longer than a football field, and its crew has 136 sailors. The submarine carries torpedoes, and it’s configured to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can strike targets a thousand miles away with pinpoint accuracy.

“This is one hell of a fighting machine. To our adversaries, let me just say this: Don’t mess with the USS Delaware,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said at the ceremony. 

First lady Biden, the daughter of a U.S. Navy signalman during World War II and a champion of military families, is the official sponsor of the U.S. Navy warship, an honor given by the secretary of the Navy. It means she will participate in the milestones of the life of the boat. She already christened the ship in 2018 with a ceremonial bottle of sparkling wine at a ceremony at a Newport News, Virginia, shipyard. 

President Biden salutes first lady Jill Biden during a commemorative commissioning ceremony for the USS Delaware nuclear submarine at the Port of Wilmington, Del., April 2, 2022.
(REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

“I’ve seen the heart of this crew, and it makes me feel both proud and humbled to be your shipmate for life,” the first lady said Saturday.

The USS Delaware became the first Navy vessel to be commissioned while underwater after the original ceremony was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Saturday’s formal commissioning was the delayed event with dignitaries on hand at the Port of Wilmington.

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