New Mexico was admitted as the 47th state of the Union in 1912.
(SSN-779: displacement 7,800; length 377'; beam 33'; draft 32'; speed 30 knots; complement 132; armament 12 Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes, UGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 4 torpedo tubes, Mk 48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) upgrade torpedoes; class Virginia)
The second New Mexico (SSN-779) was laid down on 12 April 2008 at Groton, Ct., by General Dynamics Electric Boat; launched on 17 January 2009; sponsored by Mrs. Cindy Giambastiani, wife of Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and was commissioned on 27 March 2010, Cmdr. Mark A. Prokopius in command.
The design incorporates an image of a New Mexico sunset, representing the beauty that makes New Mexico the “Land of Enchantment.” The Sandia Mountains are shown at the time of the day when their pink shade demonstrates why they are called the Sandias. The red in the upper right corner represents the red in the stars and stripes, symbolizing valor and the blood that has been sacrificed in battle. The blue in the lower left corner represents the blue of the American flag, symbolizing justice, vigilance, and perseverance. The Zia Symbol represents the state flag, as well as the prominence of the sun in New Mexico. The shape of the emblem is unique because it reflects the influence of the Native American people of New Mexico, the shape is a design that can be commonly found in Native American art, such as blankets and pots.
The naval dolphins on the sides are symbols for submarines. They shine with a white color because they represent the white on the American flag. This color symbolizes purity and innocence. The submarine in the center represents what New Mexico is: a Virginia-class submarine. New Mexico has a bow wave because she is in motion. The people on top of the ship are naval officers, holding a flag. The bird along the hull is a roadrunner, the state bird of New Mexico, known as a fast, agile, and fearless hunter. The gold in the border symbolizes courage, prosperity, wisdom, and confidence: perceived qualities for U.S. Sailors.
A nuclear symbol in the bottom left corner stands for two purposes: to represent that the Virginia-class submarines are nuclear submarines; and that nuclear development has taken place in New Mexico at Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
New Mexico returns to Newport News, Va., after completing her first round of sea trials, 26 November 2009. Note that the attack boat also proudly displays the flag of her namesake state (Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Communications, photograph donated to the Navy and released on 2 December 2009).
New Mexico, Cmdr. George Perez, Jr., in command, rendezvoused with British attack submarine HMS Astute (S.119), Cmdr. Iain Breckenridge, RN, in command, for U.S.-U.K. Fellowship 12, a series of war games in the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (late January–early February 2012). Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, and Adm. Sir Mark Stanhope, RN, British First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff respectively, embarked on board Astute on 26 January. The submarines performed various tracking, deterrence, and attack scenarios in their attempts to outmaneuver each other.
Admirals Stanhope (left) and Greenert (center) and Cmdr. Breckenridge (right) discuss the capabilities of their respective submarines within Astute’s command center in the Atlantic Ocean, 26 January 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor, U.S. Navy Photograph 120126-N-WL435-305, Navy NewsStand)
Detailed history under construction.
Mark L. Evans
26 February 2014