The first warship named “Washington” since World War II
CDR Gabriel B. Cavazos
LCDR Darius V. Ahmadi
Chief of the Boat
MMWCS(SS) Melvin O. Walker
WASHINGTON (SSN 787) is a Virginia-Class fast attack submarine and the third US Navy ship named for the State of Washington, the 42nd state of the Union. The crest design includes symbols, colors, and themes inspired by the state, the Pacific Northwest, and previous warships named Washington.
WASHINGTON is under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, VA, and is scheduled to join the fleet in early 2017. She is the fourteenth Virginia-Class submarine. Her Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) began manning up in January 2014 to support the extensive testing, qualifications and preparations required to bring a nuclear submarine to life. When delivered, WASHINGTON will be the most technologically advanced submarine in service, as well as the least expensive; her design incorporates significant innovations to reduce acquisition costs over earlier ships of the class without impacting mission capabilities.
The ship’s crest blend Washington State icons Mount Rainier, the Seattle skyline, evergreen trees; and silhouettes of the previous two WASHINGTONs. The central image is the submarine, surging forth from the waters of the Puget Sound, emblazoned with a paint scheme reminiscent of Native American art depictions of an orca whale, the state’s official marine mammal. Along the top of the state border, 6 hollow stars represent previous naval vessels named for George Washington and 2 solid gold stars representing the ships named for the state. At the bottom, submarine dolphins, one silver and one gold to represent the enlisted and officer warfare insignia. They sit atop a block of battleship armor plating on which is printed the ship’s name and motto, “Preserving Peace, Prepared for War.” The motto is derived from a quote from the state’s namesake, George Washington, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” Set behind the state is a ring adorned with the official state tartan, as adopted in 1991 for the state’s centennial. The color scheme of the tartan is a green background for the rich forests of “The Evergreen State,” with perpendicular bands of contrasting colors symbolic of the features of the state: blue (for the lakes, rivers and ocean), white (for the snow-capped mountains), red (for the apple and cherry crops), yellow (for the wheat and grain crops), and black (for the eruption of Mount St. Helens). At the top center of the tartan ring is the ship’s hull number, “SSN 787,” split by the silhouette of George Washington.
The sponsor of Virginia-class submarine Washington (SSN 787) is Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. A ship's sponsor, by tradition, is a female civilian who is chosen by the Secretary of the Navy to "sponsor" a ship. In the United States Navy, the sponsor is technically considered a permanent member of the ship's crew and is expected to give a part of her personality to the ship, as well as advocate for its continued service and well-being.
Elisabeth Mabus was born and raised in Jackson Mississippi. After earning her bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University in 2012, Elisabeth joined President Obama’s reelection campaign as a field organizer in Colorado. After the campaign, Elisabeth moved to Washington D.C. There, she worked for the Department of Health and Human Services as a special assistant for the Office for Early Childhood development.
In 2014 Elisabeth returned to Colorado to manage a Secretary of State campaign. Elisabeth has worked for successful ballot initiatives in Colorado and consulted for other campaigns. Elisabeth is the oldest daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.