Westsider on committee publicizing commissioning of USS Colorado submarine
The $2.6 billion USS Colorado is already under construction and will be commissioned in late 2016 or early 2017, according to press information. As a Virginia Class submarine, it will be 377 feet long, with a top speed of more than 25 knots and a maximum operating depth of more than 800 feet. It will also have “improved sonar” and the ability to fire torpedos as well as missiles, the specifications show.
Clark and the other 30-some members of the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee (a 501c3 nonprofit) are publicizing the new sub and encouraging statewide support. This includes obtaining state authorization last year for a USS Colorado license plate, requesting support resolutions from every county in Colorado, organizing public visits from members of the 134-man crew and fundraising. For the latter, a goal of $250,000 or more has been set to cover extra ship amenities, to establish an educational fund for crew members
“We're looking for ways to make it [the commissioning] more special than the standard process,” Clark said. “We're working on all the angles we can.”
An element of that is the current Ship's Crest Design Contest. “It is a naval tradition for a warship to proudly display a unique emblem, called a ship's crest,” states the Commissioning Committee website. “These crests are displayed on uniform patches for the ship's crew and ship's plaques as well as other places where such an emblem is appropriate throughout the life of the ship.”
Including a youth category, entries are being welcomed through March 16, with prizes offered to those judged the best.
“The committee will pre-screen the entries and submit selected entries in each category to the ship's commanding officer, who will select the winner from each category,” the contest rules state. “Since the final decision for the ship's crest lies with the commanding officer, the possibility exists that the winners of the contest may not be selected as the official ship's crest.”
For more information on entering the contest, go to http://usscoloradocommittee.org.
Clark retired as a Navy lieutenant commander in 1991. Although he works full-time as a defense consultant, runs a bed-and-breakfast with his wife Sallie and is active in neighborhood affairs, he welcomed the added responsibility of the Commissioning Committee. “It's a pride thing, and I'm glad to do it,” he said. “It is an honor to have a warship named after your state.”
The last USS Colorado was a battleship in World War II, involved in the fighting in the Pacific. It was retired after the war's end. “So there's never been a ship from the late '40s until now that was named after Colorado,” Clark pointed out.
He's excited about the new version. “When it hits the water it will have the latest systems on it and will be the most lethal boat we have out there,” Clark said.
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