USS New Mexico Crew Extends Birthday Wishes to New Mexico to Celebrate Centennial
Story Number: NNS111228-03
By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The entire crew of the Virginia-class submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) extended their birthday wishes on video, Dec. 27, to the state of New Mexico to celebrate their centennial - 100 years of statehood.
The state of New Mexico will officially celebrate its statehood centennial Jan. 6, 2012.
"What an honor it is for me personally, and for my crew to pay our respects to our namesake state," said Cmdr. George Perez, Jr., commanding officer of New Mexico since October 2010. "It's not often in one's Navy career, while in command, that you can help a state celebrate their centennial."
Perez and the New Mexico Committee came up with the idea for the video greeting as a way to recognize the strong ties the committee and the state has with its Virginia-class submarine.
"The committee has a strong history of assisting the crew in a variety of ways from sending holiday lights to decorate our submarine to creating a home environment using Southwest style bunk and passageway curtains," said Perez.
The birthday wish video will also be used by Dick Brown, chairman, USS New Mexico Committee, as a way to commemorate the state's proud history and heritage.
"Within our committee, ideas for supporting USS New Mexico continue to surface," said Brown. "We just sent 1,800 red and green Chile pepper Christmas lights for the crew to make their submarine stand out on the waterfront during this holiday season."
Brown added that while the submarine isn't able to journey up the Rio Grande for port calls during their Centennial celebration, they will plan to utilize the video to show the strong bond between the submarine and the committee.
"We plan to distribute the birthday wish video to TV stations statewide, which illustrates the strong relationship between our undersea warriors and the citizens of New Mexico," said Brown.
There are currently 127 officers and enlisted Sailors assigned to New Mexico. The ship is named in recognition of the people of the "Land of Enchantment." The battleship New Mexico (BB 40), in commission from 1918 to 1946 and the only other ship named after the 47th state, earned six battle stars for World War II service, which included providing shore bombardment support for landings in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, Guam, Tinian, Saipan, the Philippines, and Okinawa. BB 40 acted as the flagship for the Pacific Fleet during the 1920s. She was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.
View the YouTube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30Upv1FYRQU&feature=youtu.be.
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For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.