GROTON, Conn. (WTNH)–The Groton Sub Base is getting ready for a big celebration. The USS Vermont will be formally commissioned on Saturday, August 28, in a ceremony that was postponed a year and a half because of covid.
On Friday, it was the rehearsal for the Saturday ceremony. The Navy wants everything to go right because when this was supposed to happen, everything was going wrong.
The USS Vermont was christened almost three years ago. The commissioning was supposed to happen in April of 2020, but the pandemic postponed it. It also changed life on board a submarine.
“It’s been a different way that we’ve had to approach things on board, but the crew’s been very resilient,” said Commander Charles Phillips, the USS Vermont’s Commanding Officer. “We’ve ensured that we’ve followed all of the precautions and the limiting of certain things in terms of interactions.”
However, the Vermont and its crew of more than 100 men persevered, working through Covid protocols, and learning the ins and outs of this 377-foot-long fast attack submarine.
“We probably have the most highly motivated crew I have seen in my 19-year career so far,” said Senior Chief Robert Antrim, the Chief of the Boat, or most senior enlisted man. “The men really work hard, they work tirelessly to support each other, support the boat.”
The ceremony will involve top politicians from Vermont and the Secretary of the Navy. A former top Navy official is the boat’s sponsor and will tell this crew to bring the boat alive. Vermont has already been at sea for 18 months, though. It has already visited three continents and traveled enough miles to circle the globe three times.
“We’ve done two overseas movements. We’ve gone down to Brazil and done relations with the Brazilians. We were able to host President Bolsonaro on board the submarine,” said Cmdr. Phillips. “We went over to Europe and did operations in the European theater.”
Due to the fact that this is a submarine, the crew is not allowed to tell us where they are going after the commissioning, As for the event itself, however, it is nice for the “silent service’ to make a little noise once in a while.