Attending the USS HENRY M. JACKSON’s 30th Anniversary celebration today were Pat & Byron Faber from our Navy League Council, as well as Niles Fowler and Jim Sketchley from the Everett Council. Other folks attending were Henry M Jackson’s daughter (who christened the submarine) along with her husband & son, people from Everett and Sen Jackson’s former staff.
We first went down into the depths of the dry dock where the whole Blue & Gold crews were arrayed for photographs with the Senator Jackson related dignitaries (not including the Navy League folks) and with Rear Admiral David Kriete. After the photos, we all climbed the 109 steps back up to the surface as our stair climber exercise for the day.
At the top, the crew gathered again on the pier for remarks from Anna Marie Laurence, Sen Jackson’s daughter, who told about her experience when President Reagan called her from the White House to tell her that the boat was to be named for her father & that he wanted her to christen it. On the day of the christening – when she was only 21 years old, she was told by Adm Rickover that it was extremely important for her to actually break the champagne bottle, since it would be bad luck for the boat if she failed. She related that she broke it with such force that it shattered & she had blood running down her hands, along with the champagne. She said that she didn’t even mind, but was just so very glad that she had succeeded in her task.
Everyone who spoke praised the crew’s competence & capability in extending the service life 40% beyond what was initially expected for this class of submarine.
We then went below to have lunch. Some folks were in the wardroom and some were in the crew’s mess. Lunch was great!
We then got to tour the boat & all of us were impressed by the high degree of professionalism of the folks who presented in their respective stations. For instance, we were taught that they are extremely careful to calibrate gravity, since accuracy of the missiles depends on EXACT location at the time of launch. Perhaps they were pulling our legs??? Is gravity not constant everywhere? No, they said it changes, depending on where you are on the earth.
We also toured the command centers (where they showed us a video of a missile launch), sonar, forward engineering, the torpedo room, berthing areas, ending up back in the wardroom.
Once again, we were proud of our folks in uniform. They are America’s best!