WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard the Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine, USS New Mexico (SSN 779), during his first submarine embark as secretary May 11.
Mabus experienced the ship's movement during angles and dangles, high speed turns, and standing on the bridge in the ship's sail while the submarine was surfaced.
"This has been such an informative day. I am amazed at the level of skill and the level of expertise of our Sailors," Mabus said. "The ability to fully operate a Virginia-class submarine and all of its complex systems is truly remarkable. Our Sailors continually show that they are the best trained and the best skilled force our nation has seen."
Mabus also took part in a submarine warfare qualification pinning known as the Dolphin Ceremony. It recognizes enlisted and officers' completion of a yearlong qualification process that familiarizes them with virtually all of the submarine's systems. Mabus pinned the newly acquired submarine warfare insignia on Lt.j.g. Vincent Bove and Sonar Technician Seaman Kyle Hassler.
"This has been an extraordinary experience for me. The reason I'm here today is to thank you for you service," Mabus said. "Your expertise is so crucial to the Navy's mission. Because of your vital role, you spend more time away from home and your families. I want you to know that I appreciate you and your families' service and sacrifice."
New Mexico is the sixth submarine of the Virginia class. It has improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements to meet the challenges of the 21st century and the Navy's multimission requirements.
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