GROTON, Conn. – The Navy's newest attack submarine, the New Hampshire, was christened Saturday, delivered eight months ahead of schedule and $54 million under budget.
The New Hampshire was christened by the widow of a pilot killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"I believe I'm looking at heroes," Cheryl McGuinness of Portsmouth, N.H., said, looking at the ship's crew. "You all are my heroes."
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Thomas McGuinness was co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, which was flown into the World Trade Center's north tower.
Navy officials, members of Congress and shipyard workers were among the thousands who gathered to celebrate the christening of the 7,800-ton, 337-foot nuclear-powered submarine, which will have a crew of 134.
"She's a living, breathing soul who will provide a home to her crew," said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn.
The submarine, built by General Dynamic's Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, is the third Navy vessel to carry the name of the Granite State.
"Now it's time for this New Hampshire to continue the seafaring legacy of the ships before," said Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of naval reactors. "We'll soon depend on this crew to take this submarine into harm's way."
The submarine is scheduled to begin sea trials this summer and is expected to be delivered to the Navy in October, in a ceremony at the Naval shipyard in Kittery, Maine.