General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) held a keel laying ceremony for the future Virginia-class submarine Tang (SSN 805) on August 17, 2023. The keel-laying is a ceremonial event in which the initials of the ship’s sponsor are welded onto a plate to be permanently mounted in a place of honor on the completed vessel, marking a milestone in the construction of a ship.
The ship’s sponsor, Mimi Donnelly, is the daughter-in-law, wife and mother of U.S. Navy submariners. Donnelly joined GDEB welder Allison Fasulo of Warwick, RI, to help weld her initials onto the steel plate. At the completion of the weld, Donnelly authenticated her initials and declared the keel “well and truly laid.”
The keynote address was delivered by Vice Admiral William Houston, Commander, Submarine Forces. In his remarks, he stressed to the shipbuilders the importance of their work. “I look at you, the workers, who build these magnificent submarines, and I just cannot thank you enough,” said Houston. “As a submarine force commander responsible for 25,000 submariners, you give us the best platform to operate in the world.”
The 32nd submarine of the Virginia class, SSN 805 Tang will carry the legacy of two previous U.S. submarines named Tang. The first USS Tang was a Balao-class submarine, SS 306, credited as the most successful U.S. submarine of WWII, sinking the most tonnage of any U.S. submarine—33 enemy ships—on five war patrols over the course of just 14 months.