Commissioning Date and Location are Official!

The Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, has officially announced that the Virginia-class fast attack submarine NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) will be commissioned in New Jersey at the pier of Naval Weapons Station Earle on April 6th, 2024.

NWS Earle

We will be providing a mechanism for requesting tickets to the event shortly. All requests will be forwarded to the US Navy for their handling, the committee does not control the allocation of tickets to the general public.

We hope you are as excited for this event as we are!

Crew and Committee Visit NJ Air National Guard

Crew members from the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) visited the 177th Fighter Wing, NJANG located at the Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. The visit took place in August towards the end of our last ‘namesake visit’ where we bring crew members to New Jersey.

Hosted by Deputy Wing Commander, Colonel Aaron Dunn, the crew, including Winfred Cameron, learned about the federal, state, and community vision and values of the Fighter Wing. The crew also visited Maintenance Ops where they learned about the important requirements and dedicated service to the Fighter Wing, both in front and behind the scenes. Lastly, they visited the Fighter Wing Base F-16 simulators where the crew took turns “flying” and F-16! They experienced the in-flight realism with smiles and awe for what professional airmen must undergo in their training.

While at the 177th, the crew got an up close and personal look at the Air Force Thunderbirds who were just getting ready to depart the area after their wonderful performance at the Atlantic City Air Show – Thunder Over the Boardwalk.

This visit was one of the many highlights of our namesake visit!

SSN-796 Visits BB-62 to Round Out Another Great Namesake Visit

As with every crew visit to New Jersey we try to ensure a tour of the Battleship New Jersey (BB-62) is included. This time was no exception and the crew members from the new USS NEW JERSEY (SSN-796) visited and got the great welcome they always receive.

And another ‘tradition’ we have is that visiting crew members sign a banner, which as you can see, is filling up! You tell from this just how many crew members we’ve helped bring up to introduce to NJ!

Atlantic City Airshow 2023

We spent a long day on the boardwalk in Atlantic City letting everyone know about the new US Navy submarine USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796). The sailors were great ambassadors greeting people, shaking hands, getting photos with anyone who asked.

I did my best to get a photo of the booth, but the boardwalk was so busy it was impossible to get a clear shot.

Meanwhile we sold merchandise to help fund activities our committee is responsible for. These include:

  • Funding to support crew visits to New Jersey
  • Many activities during commissioning week
  • Support of the boat’s MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) fund
  • Funding for a post commissioning scholarship program for the crew and their families

It was a long hot day, and VERY loud at times as planes roared overhead. It was so worth it though, a great time!

George Goldhoff, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

While the crew of the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) were in town earlier this month, we had the pleasure of meeting George Goldhoff, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Mr Goldhoff shared the Hard Rock story with us and the motto on which the company is founded, “Love All-Serve All, Take Time To Be Kind, Save The Planet, and All Is One.” Mr. Goldhoff also took us on a short tour.

Visitors to the Hard Rock frequently thanked and greeted the sailors as we were taken around to see the various restaurants, memorabilia and more.

Mr. Goldhoff also treated the group to such at the iconic Whitehouse Sub. Subs for submariners!

Thank you so much for your hospitality!

Crew and Committee Members Visit the EHT Police Activities League

Crew members of the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796), including Chief of the Boat, Winfred Cameron, visited the EHT Police Activities League last week while they were in NJ as part of the Commissioning Committee’s namesake program. Accompanied by Ocean First Foundation’s Executive Director, Kathy Durante, and Vice President of Commercial Lending, Jeff RopieckiHector Tavarez, EHT PAL Executive Director, and Michelle Stella Riordan (Williams), STEM Director, hosted us as several very impressive members of the STEM program shared their projects with the crew. 

Younger campers had the opportunity to ask the crew questions about the newest submarine to be commissioned to the United States Navy and their experiences as submariners. We were all very impressed with the overall program. Well done, EHT PAL!

Photo credits go to Michelle Riordan. Thank you.

Crew and Committee Visit  the Millville Army Air Field Museum

Big shout out and heartfelt thank you to Lisa Jester and Steve Graham from the Millville Army Air Field Museum, Barry Smith from Smith & Jackson Military Antiques and Firearms, and Jen and Paul Simmons from Glasstown Brewery who hosted crew members of USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) for a museum tour and a “Meet and Greet” with museum volunteers, members, and guests. 

In spite of a few raindrops and occasional clap of thunder, guests were able to mingle with the crew, take photos, and ask questions.

Crew and Committee Visit the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City

On PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796)’s recent namesake visit to New Jersey, the crew visited the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. We were able to tour the facility and see the great work Dr. Charles A. Wallace II, CNED and his team are doing with some of the young people of Atlantic City. Students were able to ask the sailors questions about life on a submarine and careers in the Navy. Special thanks go to Sean Pattwell and Tom Meehan from the CRDA for arranging this special event.

If you are on Linked-In please consider following and sharing our posts there to help spread the word about the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796), the commissioning committee –

All donations will be used to support the crew and the commissioning events leading up to the USS NEW JERSEY joining the fleet. We intend to have sufficient remaining funds after her commissioning to create a scholarship program for the crew and their families.

New Jersey State Police Host Dinner for Crew and Committee

Several crew members of PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) are in New Jersey this week as part of the Commissioning Committee’s namesake visit initiative.  On August 15th 2023, Troop Commander Major Michael A. Krzyzkowski of the New Jersey State Police hosted dinner for the group at Killarney’s Publick House in Hamilton, NJ. 

Thank you, Major Krzyzkowski (top left), for your support and generosity.

Meet & Greet with Members of the Crew

Tuesday, August 15th – Meet & Greet with members of the crew of the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) at the Millville Army Air Field Museum in Millville, NJ. The Chief of the Boat, STSCM Winfred Cameron, along with other crew members and members of the USS NEW JERSEY Commissioning Committee, will tour the Millville Army Air Field Museum, followed by a visit to the Smith & Jackson Military Antiques, then on to the Glasstown Brewery for an “open to the public” Meet the Crew event!

Take photos! Ask Questions! Food trucks, music, and more! The Millville Army Air Museum is located at 1 Leddon Street in Millville, NJ. It is an outdoor event and promises to be a fun evening for all ages! 

The Boat is Now In-Service

New milestone since the boat completed ‘the first meal’ on June 30th, 2023

The official naval register website has changed the PCU NEW JERSEY’s status from new construction to in-service.

What does this mean? The crew can now officially live aboard the submarine, take their meals aboard, and see their compensation altered to match this new status.

  • They received certification to cook meals on the boat.
  • They received certification to live on the boat.
  • They received certification to handle their own security.


Press Release from the shipyard: HII Celebrates First Meal Aboard Virginia-Class Submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) – HII

‘First Meal’ Aboard the PCU NEW JERSEY

On Friday June 30th commissioning committee members Stephen Hutton, Peter Engelman, Julianne Dobs, and Timi Lindsay, were honored to be allowed to join the command and crew of the PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) as they celebrated the first meal aboard the boat. This is a significant milestone in bringing boat to life allowing the crew to potentially berth aboard and eat aboard the submarine from that point on.

Seen above Dr. Susan DiMarco (ship’s sponsor) and committee member Peter Engelman share the ‘first meal’ with crew members aboard the PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796)

The ship’s sponsor Dr. Susan DiMarco, and her son Jeh Johson Jr. were among the guests aboard this day. In addition to breaking bread with the crew we were all afforded a tour of the boat as she her systems and facilities come together. The meal was excellent and left us truly impressed with what the culinary specialists are able to accomplish in such tight quarters.

Seen above – Culinary Specialists and crew members who prepared and served the ‘first meal’ aboard the PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796)

Dr Susan DiMarco

Seen above Dr. Susan DiMarco (ship’s sponsor) shares ‘first meal’ with crew members aboard the PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796)

The crew and officers were gracious and took the time to explain the numerous systems and their functions (or at least what they were allowed to) and it was clear that this vessel has considerable communication and system advantages that make her superbly efficient for conducting her future missions.

Thanks to the CO, XO, COB and everyone else involved in making this a truly memorable visit!

We look forward to announcing, hopefully soon, the date and location of the PCU NEW JERSEY’s commissioning.

May 2023 Newsletter

Greetings From The NJ Submarine Commissioning Committee

It is an honor to be part of the commissioning of the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796).  We are working diligently to ensure that all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed – our goal is to have “the best commissioning ever.”

There is a great deal of behind the scenes work being done to ensure that the crew is recognized, honored, and supported – for both the commissioning week and time afterwards.  They deserve it!

Simultaneously, we are diligently investigating ways to “tell the story” – of the navy, of submarines, of the USS NEW JERSEY, and of the crew.  This newsletter is one of the vehicles.  We hope you enjoy it, and pass it along to friends and family.

Social Media will play a big role in our communication.

Feel free to use your social media skills to help us spread the word.

Lastly – we will be engaging in relationships with newspapers, radio stations, etc. to provide another medium to inform the public.  Be on the look-out.

It will be a great ride.  We’ll make sure that you stay informed.  Enjoy!!

~ Peter Engelman, Treasurer and Trustee

News From The Boat

The crew of PCU NEW JERSEY started out the month of April prepping for and successfully completing the Reactor Safeguard Exam certifying the crew for initial criticality and Power Range Steam Testing (PRST).

The crew will now go into the shift work until Steam Testing is complete. On April 14th, NEW JERSEY Celebrated the Submarine Community by attending the Submarine Birthday Ball in Virginia Beach, VA. The ball was a major success and was led by the Master of Ceremony COB STSCM Hamilton Felt. As the AFT portion of the boat completes PRST, FWD departments will continue training toward Sea Trial Operations and delivering PCU NEW JERSEY to the Naval Fleet.

Introducing Our Newest Trustee

Mike Zimmerman has joined the Commissioning Committee as its newest Trustee. Mr. Zimmerman recently retired from the New Jersey State Police after nearly three decades of service. During his tenure he was known to be a highly accomplished law enforcement leader with a proven track record in directing multiple large-scale operations. Throughout this time, he served in all branches of the organization, successfully developing and executing new initiatives and overhauling workflow to enhance capabilities and achieve organizational objectives.

Prior to his retirement, Mr. Zimmerman was the Field Operations Commanding Officer, which held the honor of commanding over 1,700 uniformed Troopers who encountered millions of citizens a year. In this position he planned, coordinated, and supervised major multi-county events, and partnered with Federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and the United States Secret Service. In addition, he served as the Operations Section Chief for New Jersey’s deployment and relief effort in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. He facilitated the diversification of the high-profile Tactical Patrol Unit, and assumed Incident Command for many planned and emergent events in New Jersey.

Mr. Zimmerman previously held the position of Adjunct Professor at Monmouth University’s Graduate Criminal Justice Program, and New Jersey City University’s Professional Security Studies Program. He received his undergraduate degree from Richard Stockton University and postgraduate degree from Seton Hall University.

Concurrent to his service to the State of New Jersey, Mr. Zimmerman is a dedicated father of two young men and servant to the community. He served as a mentor and coach to many youth sports. He was the past president of the local Parent Teacher Organization, and volunteered for countless organizations. 

Elizabeth, NJ – The Birthplace of the United States Submarine Force

The birthday of the United States Submarine Force is April 11. Numerous military units and veterans’ organizations celebrate this special day every year with ballroom dinners, ceremonies, proclamations of remembrance, and more. Conspicuously absent from these Submarine Birthday celebrations is any mention or recognition of the Submarine Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey.

John Philip Holland built the first modern submarine. He is known as the father of the modern submarine, creating the first underwater vessel purchased by the United States. He was a school teacher in Ireland who immigrated to Paterson, New Jersey, where he obtained a teaching position. The New Jersey inventor built a submersible vehicle powered by foot pedals in 1873. The U.S. Navy rejected this variation of the submarine. He sought to keep trying, and by 1875, he was able to launch his first submarine. It was built to carry torpedoes and be fixed onto the bottom of a ship. This version was divided into four compartments with air chambers and pipes leading to the middle, where Holland would use the foot pedals and a diver helmet to move the propellers.

John Phillip Holland would be persistent in evolving his submarine. It would take up to 26 years until 1899 in Elizabeth, NJ, where Holland made the “Holland VI” submarine that was launched from the Port of Elizabeth and sailed to Washington, DC via the Delaware River and the Raritan Canal. When Holland VI arrived in Washington, DC, it went through a series of trials by the U.S. Navy. Holland’s submarine passed the naval board of inspection and would be purchased by the U.S Navy for $165,000. This landed John Philip Holland as the inventor of the modern submarine and Elizabeth, NJ, as the Birthplace of the United States Submarine Force.

Namesake Visit to Elizabeth, NJ

The Commissioning Committee partnered with the City of Elizabeth, the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization, and the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in recognizing the role that Elizabeth, NJ has played in the development of the US Submarine Force and more formally recognize Elizabeth, NJ as the Birthplace of the United States Submarine Force.  

While in Elizabeth, the crew attended assemblies at Juan Pablo Duarte – Jose Julian Marti School No. 28, the site where Electric Boat, now a subsidiary of General Dynamics, built and launched the USS HOLLAND (SS-1) on 11 April, 1900.  A total of 900 middle school students were in attendance.  Several proclamations and letters of recognition were presented to Mayor Christian Bollwage, highlighting the history and partnership with the City of Elizabeth.  The crew also attended an assembly at Admiral Halsey High School with the junior ROTC program where the cadets were able to interact with the crew and learn more about careers in the US Navy.  Students from the culinary academy served a very impressive lunch to all in attendance, a crowd of over 250! 

Eight members of the crew, including Captain Steven Halle, made the trip from Norfolk, VA, where the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) is in its final stages of construction, to Elizabeth, NJ early April.  

Along the way, the crew stopped in Camden, NJ, to tour the Battleship New Jersey (BB 62), the second of three Navy vessels to share the name “New Jersey.”  

Mayor Bollwage’s TV show – SPT Television

In addition to the visits to the school, the crew and members of the Commissioning Committee appeared on the Mayor’s TV show and SPT Television, discussing the construction and upcoming commissioning of the boat and sharing their experiences in the Navy. 

Commander Steven Halle, CO of the USS NEW JERSEY; and Stephen Hutton, Chairman of the Commissioning Committee

Seen here Commander Steven Halle, CO of the USS NEW JERSEY; and Stephen Hutton, Chairman of the Commissioning Committee

Special Thanks

Jennifer Costa, President of the Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce was a gracious host and tour guide throughout the week, introducing the crew and committee to local businesses and organizations including Community Access Unlimited, IKEA, First Presbyterian Church, Imperial Ring, Roc’s Bakery, and the Newark Airport. 

Thanks also to the Elizabeth Police Department for helping make sure we got wherever we needed to be on time. A great group that make a hard job look easy!

Local Cuisine – Thanks to Elizabeth Police Department and the Elizabeth PBA Local #4

The Elizabeth Police Department and the Elizabeth PBA Local #4 hosted the crew and committee to a delicious dinner at Valenca Restaurant. We were joined by Ship’s Sponsor, Dr. Susan DiMarco and Elizabeth’s Mayor Bollwage.

Martinho and Teresa Pereira established Valenca Restaurant in 1989 bringing traditional Portuguese delicacies and trademark hospitality to Elizabeth.  The food and service were fantastic! 

The USS NEW JERSEY Visits The New Jersey Devils!

Tuesday evening of our visit, the crew were able to interact with several fans at the NJ Devils game. The Devils showed their strength in a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1.

Highlights included the ship’s crew being announced to the cheering crowd of thousands while the ship’s crest and crew members were shown on the giant screens for all to see. The crew circulated around the arena meeting fans as well as being greeted by Jake Reynolds, President of HB Sports & Entertainment; and Jim Leonard, SVP Government Relations & Foundations for HB Sports & Entertainment. The Devils organization presented a ‘Jersey’ Jersey for the NEW JERSEY.

Status of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour

Before leaving the Elizabeth area, the crew had an early morning tour of the Statue of Liberty.  Although the views were somewhat diminished due to the weather, the crew climbed the 354 steps to the crown of Lady Liberty.  While there, the crew were able to meet several other guests, including Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

Presentation to Johnson & Johnson

On the way back to Norfolk, the crew stopped for a visit with team members at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick.  Captain Steven A. Halle, together with Joseph Velez, a Trustee with the Commissioning Committee, presented a plaque to John Perez, Head of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Gina Fritz, Manager of FM Services, in recognition of J&J’s continued support of the boat and her crew.  

The four day “Namesake” visit was quite a success. 

The Committee is planning its next multi-day visit for August
to coincide with the Atlantic City Air Show.    

Thank You to Our Most Recent Donors

Electric Boat
Northrup Grumman
R McGoey (CAPT USN (ret))
Susan DiMarco
Spring Lake Rotary

View Our Sponsor List

Julianne Dods

Julianne received her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1986 and worked for several years with General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX. There she was responsible for advanced research for composite materials application to wing skin design for highly maneuverable, low visibility aircraft.

Nineteen years ago, Julianne set off on a new path, coupling her analytical mindset and leadership skills with her love of fitness. As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Tilton Fitness & Wellness, Julianne directly managed the design and development of five medically based fitness and wellness clubs, growing the network to eight facilities and serving over 26,000 members.

Her most recent initiative has been with a virtual fitness start-up, FlexIt, where, as the Vice President of Operations, she has implemented relevant systems, operations, and procedures to drive sales, optimize marketing, and improve client retention.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Julie has been extremely active in her hometown, serving on the Executive Board of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and overseeing events such as the Atlantic City Air Show, Miss America Clambake, and the Annual Golf Classic in conjunction with the Shoprite LPGA. She has served on the Professional Studies Advisory Board of Directors for the Atlantic Cape Community College to provide a professional viewpoint for college administrators as they consider modifications and additions to curriculum and course studies for the Business Administration programs. Julianne was also involved with the Rutgers CX Advisory Board of Directors to help develop and integrate methodology to teach students how to manage the customer experience with their Customer Experience Certificate Program. She has been active with her church, serving as a catechist, eucharistic minister, and lector for over twenty years.

Julianne and her husband, Reynolds, have five adult children, three of whom graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Patrick, USNA ’15, is currently an aide to a two-star admiral at NATO Transition Command. Maggie, USNA ’19, is a signals intelligence officer stationed at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Matthew, also USNA ’19 is currently an officer aboard the USS New Jersey.

Julianne and Reynolds recently moved from their NJ home of thirty years to PA to be closer to Julianne’s aging father. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, golf, fitness, cooking, and being active outdoors.

Elizabeth Celebrates the Birthplace of the US Navy’s Submarine Force

In early April we celebrated Elizabeth NJ as the birthplace of the US Navy’s Submarine force – the city where the first commissioned US Navy submarine was built – the USS Holland (SS-1) – launched 1897 and commissioned in October of 1900. We spent several days in and around Elizabeth, NJ.

We visited schools, a manufacturing company, joined the ship’s sponsor and local police for dinner, visited the Statue of Liberty, toured the Battleship NEW JERSEY, set up a display at Newark Airport to tell people about the new submarine, visited with the NJ Devils NHL team, spent time at a historic Elizabeth church, conducted interviews with the Mayor of Elizabeth, and a local Portuguese TV station.

Photos below show some of the highlights.

There were several proclamations read out, including one from NJ Governor Muphy and Lt. Governor Oliver recognizing Elizabeth as the birthplace of the nation’s Submarine Force, having built the USS HOLLAND (SS 1), the first commissioned US Navy submarine. This proclamation was presented to Elizabeth’s mayor, Mayor Bollwage.

Elizabeth Week Kicks Off!

[Elizabeth, NJ – April 3rd, 2023] The crew of the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) visited the ELIZABETH PUBLIC SCHOOLS and the City of Elizabeth as part of a namesake visit to the State of New Jersey to further the relationships between the boat and its namesake, the state of New Jersey, and to raise awareness of the upcoming commissioning of the US Navy‘s newest Virginia Class submarine.

Elizabeth School 28
The crew received an amazing welcome at School 28 in Elizabeth, NJ

The New Jersey Commissioning Committee is partnering with the City of Elizabeth, the GREATER ELIZABETH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization, and the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in recognizing the role that Elizabeth, NJ has played in the development of the US submarine force and to more formally recognize Elizabeth, NJ as the Birthplace of the United States Submarine Force.

Mayor Bollwage’s ‘Our City’ Event for Elizabeth. NJ

Thanks to Mayor Bollwage of the City of Elizabeth, NJ for hosting a Q&A with Commander Steven Halle (CO of the submarine PCU NEW JERSEY), and Stephen Hutton, Chairman of the Commissioning Committee.

We explained the purpose of a commissioning committee, and shared information about life aboard a submarine. We also talked specifically about the to-be commissioned submarine being completed at the Huntingdon Ingalls Industry shipyards in Virginia, the USS NEW JERSEY. Elizabeth, New Jersey was where the very first commissioned US Navy Submarine was constructed: the USS HOLLAND (SS-1).


This was an important part of a week’s worth of events in and around Elizabeth, NJ as we celebrated what is considered to be the birthplace of the US Navy’s Submarine Force. Elizabeth was the city where the very first US Navy submarine ever to be commissioned was built: the USS Holland (SS-1).

She was acquired by the USN on 11 April 1900 and commissioned on 12 October 1900, Lieutenant H. H. Caldwell commanding.

‘Namesake’ Visit to NJ Starts on the BB62

[Camden, NJ April 2, 2023] As usual we kicked off our most recent crew visit from the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) with a visit to the prior USS NEW JERSEY, the Battleship New Jersey (BB 62). It’s a tradition now that the visiting crewmembers sign a banner to show they’ve visited the battleship. Pictured below are two of the first female enlisted personnel to visit as part of these events.

Signing the banner

Some of the rest of the crew having just driven up from Virginia to begin their ‘namesake’ visit to NJ.

Casual on the BB 62

The submarine has only recently begun to receive female enlisted crew members to join their ranks. The NEW JERSEY is the first in her class of submarines to be designed and built with the intent of supporting a fully integrated male/female crew. This allows the Navy to widen the pool of talented individuals that they can assign to our nation’s submarines.

Thank you to the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial for hosting several of the crew of the newest USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796). Special thanks to Jack Willard for hosting and Timi Lindsay and Joe Lario for being there to welcome the crew! Eight members of the crew are visiting New Jersey this week on a namesake visit to continue to build a strong relationship between the boat and its namesake, the State of New Jersey, including Commanding Officer Steven Halle, STSCM Hamilton Felt – Chief of the Boat, ENS Lillian Baker, ETN2 Joy Shirey, STS2 Kenny Ortega, MMN3 Kianna Gonzales, LSSA Ocean Bouck, and FTSR Amelia Fast.

February Newsletter

A Word From The NJ Submarine Commissioning Committee

Back in December we welcomed a new CO for the submarine, Cmdr. Steven Halle. Cmdr. Halle replaced the outgoing CO, Cmdr. Jared Smith, who has since left the Navy to move into the private sector. While Cmdr. Smith wasn’t with us for very long, we certainly appreciated his support. We now look forward to working with Cmdr. Halle on what should be the final stretch before the commissioning event. 

Regarding the submarine herself, work continues in Virginia on finishing construction. A major milestone in the process of preparing the submarine to join the fleet is taking the nuclear reactor critical, something that should be happening very soon. 

The question we get asked most (not too surprisingly) is when will the submarine be commissioned, and where will it take place?  The moment we know what the decision is, and we’re confident it will take place in New Jersey and we will know relatively soon, we will publish the information on our website at 

One thing we will do soon thereafter is make available a way for the public to submit their request to attend the event. The Navy will receive all requests that we get and will review them prior to any approvals and issuance of invitations. 

In our next newsletter we’ll hopefully have updates on the commissioning, on upcoming crew visits, and a progress update regarding construction.

View the rest of our February Newsletter sent from our MailChimp account here

Lockheed Martin Commits Support

Thanks to Lockheed Martin for recently committing to become a supporter of our organization. We will continue with crew visits to NJ from the submarine this year, as well as preparartions for her commissioning week activities here in New Jersey.

The company has also committed to be a contributor to the USS NEW JERSEY’s MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) program.

BRAVO ZULU Lockheed Martin!

Lockheed Martin

The Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American aerospace, arms, defense, information security, and technology corporation with worldwide interests. It is headquartered in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington, D.C. area. 

Ringing In The New Year, Navy Style

Firstly a thank you to all our military personnel and their families for the sacrifices they make every year to ensure our nation remains safe.

Something I only recently became aware of is a tradition in the US Navy regarding the first log entry of the New Year. This tradition has waned somewhat but still happens on some US Navy vessels.

The Naval History and Heritage Command is trying to revive the tradition via the New Year’s Deck Log Poetry contest. 

Ringing in the New Year Navy Style

An example of this tradition from an actual ship’s log of the USS/USNS Concord (T-AFS-5), on Thursday January 1st, 1970

And from myself to all…

“However you choose to welcome this New Year, I wish you a happy one, with nothing but cheer!”

— Steve Hutton, Chairman

New Jersey SSN 796 Change of Command!

Congratulations to outgoing CO Commander Smith (left) and welcome, Commander Halle (right)!


Welcome Commander Halle, the committee looks forward to meeting you!

Photos credit: STS3(SS) Alberto Sandoval

STEM Merit Badge Fair

The USS NEW JERSEY(SSN796) Commissioning Committee partnered with Boy Scouts of America to host a STEM Merit Badge Fair where nearly 200 Scouts from across New Jersey learned about topics like Nuclear Science, Chemistry, Oceanography, Digital Technology and Computer Programming. The event was organized by Monmouth Council’s Middlesex District and took place at Hoover Middle School in Edison, NJ.

While Merit Badge Fairs are common, with each District holding an annual event, offering topics like Nuclear Science is quite rare, and this fair was considered to be a treat for Scouts who were up for the challenge. Scouts had opportunity to talk with crew members throughout the day who shared their experiences living and working on a submarine along with providing an understanding of how various technologies are used every day in the Navy. 

Thank you to Carlton Hoye, MBA, PMP for coordinating this event and to the crew for making the trip from Norfolk, VA, where they are preparing the USS NEW JERSEY for sea trials prior to commissioning in late 2023. 

This crew visit is part of the larger “namesake” program sponsored by the USS NEW JERSEY Commissioning Committee to raise awareness and build a relationship between the boat and the State of New Jersey. To learn more about the Commissioning Committee or to make a donation to this historic event, visit

Boy Scout Breakfast on BB62

The crew of the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) had breakfast with the Boy Scouts aboard the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial on Sunday. As part of this namesake visit, the crew were able to talk with the Scouts and their parents about the building and testing of the newest Virginia-class submarine scheduled to be commissioned in October 2023. They also were able to learn more about the nation’s most decorated battleship from many of the ship’s veterans. 

Special thanks to Ken Kersch and Jack Willard for helping with this visit.  

If you are interested in learning more about the newest submarine, USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796), or donating to the USS NEW JERSEY Commissioning Committee, please visit  


Today (11/18/22) crew members from the new Virginia-class fast attack submarine PCU NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) visited the Naval ROTC unit at Rutgers University. This visit is part of our committee’s continuing efforts to bring the crew to her namesake state to conduct youth outreach, community service projects, cultural and historical activities, and corporate introductions.

Our goal is to build a long-term relationship between our state and the submarine for the life of the boat.

Some quotes from crew members during the presentations and Q&A:

“Jersey is the pilot platform, first fast attack to have a fully integrated crew with female enlisted submariners. In fact, we get our first female Chief in 3 weeks”

“Navy nuclear training is like College 3.0.  I had no idea how much I would learn … then when I got on board and looked at my qualification card requirements I thought, I don’t know any of this stuff”

Continuing education and development is ‘part and parcel’ of being in the US Navy’s submarine force.

Reactor Soon To Go Critical For First Time

The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) NEW JERSEY (SSN 796) is preparing to take their nuclear reactor, which will power the ship for its 40 years of service, critical for the first time. This major milestone paves the way for the NEW JERSEY to support the fleet and our nation. 

To achieve a stable chain reaction and, therefore, a critical reactor, the crew will raise the neutron-absorbing control rods from the bottom of the uranium core for the first time. Neutrons, now able to interact with the uranium, cause fission, splitting the uranium and releasing additional neutrons along with thermal energy, which generates steam and is used to power the ship. When the sum total of neutrons produced by fission equals the number absorbed, the reactor is “critical.”

The training and dedication of the entire crew and shipyard is recognized and appreciated as, together, they approach this historic milestone.  

Committee Presents to Veterans Group at ‘Renaissance at Manchester’

On October 3rd, 2022 Stephen Hutton and John Koehr made a presentation to the veterans group at ‘Renaissance’, a 55+ community facility in Manchester Township, NJ. The group were really engaged and asked some great questions. Despite the weather (it was raining) we were delighted to see a large turnout that required extra tables and chairs to be brought out to support the audience size.

The group also made a generous donation which will help us continue to fund crew visits to NJ!

If you have a large group that would be interested in learning more about the USS New Jersey (SSN-796) and our committee’s mission then please reach out and let us know using the contact us form below.

    Committee Presents to Rotary Club of Morris Plains

    This morning committee members Paul Blodgett and Stephen Hutton had the opportunity and privilege to make a presentation to the Rotary Club of Morris Plains describing our mission and informing about the future addition to the submarine fleet: the USS New Jersey (SSN 796).

    The presentation was well received and some excellent questions were asked.

    Thanks to the members for such a warm welcome and allowing us the opportunity to talk about this new submarine.

    August Namesake Visit – Camden and Philadelphia

    On Sunday the 29th of August, the crew was given a tour of the Battleship New Jersey BB-62 and observed CPO Initiation Ceremony conducted onboard the battleship.

    After an outstanding tour, the crew was hosted by the Iron Worker Union Local 12698 at tailgate and Phillies versus Pirates baseball game.

    The crew then returned to Virginia completing another memorable crew hometown visit.

    • Author Captain Joe Lario

    USS New Jersey Visits 177th Fighter Wing

    The following day after the Atlantic City Air Show the committee and crew members visiting from the USS New Jersey were granted the chance to visit the 177th Fighter Wing, NJ Air National Guard.

    Big thank you to committee trustee Marshall Spevak for organizing the visit! Joining Marshall, were committee members Joe Velez, and chairman Stephen Hutton.

    After an orientation session that explained the role and composition of the unit we were taken to meet with two pilots on standby for immediate departure (should the need arise), their F-16s fully fueled and armed. We were able to get up close to the aircraft and the sailors had some great questions for the two pilots.

    While we weren’t allowed to take photos at this point their Public Affairs person (Senior Airman Hunter Hires) took the following photo for us of USAF Capt. Patrick “SOJO” Schiffer discussing his aircraft and his mission.

    U.S. Air Force Capt. Patrick "SOJO" Schiffer
    U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Hunter Hires

    After this fantastic Q&A opportunity we were taken to get a photo with a nearby unarmed F-16c Fighting Falcon

    mmission Committee and USS New Jersey Sailors Visit 177th Fighter Wing
    U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Hunter Hires

    Next the crew and committee were in for another treat as we were taken into a highly secure area where two F-16 flight simulators were in place. Every sailor and committee member was given a chance to ‘fly’ an F-16, and in Marshall’s case deplete all his ammunition and require rearming in mid-flight.

    Such a unique military experience so unlike anything submariners typically have an opportunity to participate in. At the end of the visit gifts were exchanged and it looks like the beginning of a friendship between the SSN 796 ‘Devil Fish’ and 177th Fighter Wing ‘Jersey Devils’.

    A Great Day For An Air Show!

    Weather was a little on the warm side but the sky was clear and just right for the Atlantic City Air Show on August 24th. The committee got to the boardwalk a little early, with Steve Hutton making the delivery of our tent, table, weights, and giveaways and Joe Velez and Peter Engelman on station ready to receive. The three of us finally figured out how to put the committee’s new tent up, and it looked fantastic!

    Tent graphics designed by Aviate Creative, LLC

    We told the sailors they didn’t have to arrive too early, but we set aside the table provided by the city for the crew to sell their t-shirt, ball caps, coins etc. All profits from their sales go towards the submarine’s MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) fund.

    The crew looked great as usual and between ourselves and the sailors we attracted a lot of visits from people in the city for the Air Show. We handed out free coasters with our logo on, and gave out trifolds and explained what our role was regarding the boat and her crew. We solicited donations and pointed out that they could visit our web site to make contributions.

    Crew members busy answering questions and selling

    Not too long into the event we were joined by committee member Timi Lindsay and the four members stayed through until the end of the event, which was at 3:30pm at the conclusion of the Thunderbirds demonstration.

    Special thanks to Ed Troche, Bill Aitken, and Joe Velez for getting the committee our new embroidered polo shirts. They turned out great and made the team look that much more professional!

    Reception for Atlantic City Air Show

    On Tuesday August 23rd the visiting sailors from the USS New Jersey, along with members of the commissioning committee were invited by the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce to attend a reception being given primarily for military participants in the upcoming Air Show. Principal among the attendees were the pilots and support personnel from the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team – the ‘to be’ highlight performers for the following day’s air show.

    So grateful to the AC Chamber of Commerce for putting on this event and for allowing us to be attendees. The following photo doesn’t do justice to the scale of the event, but was the best I could manage:

    Atlantic City Air Show Here We Come

    Only a few days away from the Atlantic City Air Show and we are ready. Look for us on the boardwalk by ‘Boardwalk Hall’ right next to the tent for the Battleship New Jersey. We’re bringing several crew members up from the new submarine the USS New Jersey to visit Atlantic City and get to know our state.

    During the air show we’ll be manning our tent and looking for you to stop by if you’re there to meet us and some of the submarine’s crew. Come and meet us and learn about our mission of supporting the newest USS New Jersey as she readies to join the fleet next year. The sailors will be selling some souvenir items – ball caps, t-shirts, and more… and we will have a few little giveaways too!

    We’ve done several of these crew visits now in various parts of NJ to introduce the crew to their namesake state as well as to give our state’s residents a chance to meet the sailors who will be proudly sailing the third US warship named New Jersey.

    Interested in helping the committee?

    Drop us a line via our contact page:

    SubFest in Montgomery, NJ

    A fantastic ‘SubFest’ was organized by the Montgomery News to celebrate the new USS New Jersey (SSN 796), a Virginia Class Fast Attack Submarine currently under construction and scheduled to join the fleet in 2023.

    The event took place on cool and windy June 18th 2022

    Plenty of food and drinks were available, local vendors had tables to display their wares, and two bands entertained the crowd. Our committee were given a table to set up and talk about our role, while the visiting crew members joined us and sold USS New Jersey sweatshirts, t-shirts, ball caps, coins and more as souvenirs. The profit from the crew’s sales go towards their MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) fund.

    Several local, including town mayor Devra Keenan, gave people a chance to dunk them if they could hit the target with a thrown ball. Kudos to Devra and every other brave soul for doing this as it wasn’t the warmest day and the dunkings must have been freezing cold!

    Mayor Devra Keenan
    Mayor of Montgomery Township, Devra Keenan

    The main attraction of the day was the second band performing on stage – ‘Slippery When Wet’ – considered the best Bon Jovi tribute band in the country! Their performance was outstanding and the crowd really enjoyed the music. To view a video of their performance of It’s My Life (and more) click here

    Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi Tribute Band

    During a break in the music crew members were asked up on stage and introduced to the crowd by Norman Silverstein! Norman was the power behind this whole event and the committee is grateful to him for everything he did to make this a reality!

    Local media in addition to The Montgomery Press were in evidence and our own Chairman Stephen Hutton was interviewed to get our committee’s explanation of what we’re doing and why…

    A few more videos of the event can be viewed here

    Visit To Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate HQ

    On Thursday June 16th five crew members from the brand new USS New Jersey SSN 796 were invited along with members of the Commissioning Committee (Stephen Hutton, Joe Velez, and John Koehr) to visit Johnson & Johnson’s corporate HQ in New Brunswick, NJ.

    The first part of our visit was a warm welcome at Johnson Hall were breakfast was waiting. We spent some time mixing with J&J employees, several of whom were themselves military veterans. Following breakfast were were treated to being among the first guests ever to get to be given a tour of their new Johnson & Johnson museum.

    After the fascinating tour (I never knew J&J invented duct tape!) we were invited back to the main building where we met with the head of HR for J&J for a great conversation about the company and the J&J Credo. A quick trip to the company store followed where the sailors purchased some items to take back to Virginia.

    It was time for lunch and the crew and committee were taken up to the executive dining room where numerous former military employees joined us and broke bread. J&J really embraces employing military veterans and one side benefit of several of our namesake visits have been showing career opportunities for sailors once they (not too soon we hope) leave the US Navy.

    Thanks to committee trustee Joe Velez for organizing the visit.

    SubFest is Almost Here!

    A festival to show support for our newest US Navy warship named after the great state of NEW JERSEY! The USS New Jersey (SSN 796)

    A music and food festival featuring the Bon Jovi tribute band “Slippery When Wet” who will be performing on stage this coming June 18th at the Princeton Airport, on Route 206 south (a little north of Princeton) in Montgomery, NJ

    Tickets are available online or on the day (though tickets are going fast)

    There will be several vendors showing their wares, multiple food trucks, alcohol (for the adults) provided by The Tiger’s Tale, and ice cream for all ages!

    Additionally there will be a climbing wall, a mechanical shark (think mechanical bull but a shark), and a dunking tank where we hope to dunk some local sports coaches, teachers, or anyone else we can ‘rope in’ before the day.

    A local band will warm the crowd up before the main band plays.

    Most important – for us – there will be several members of the new fast attack Virginia-class submarine USS New Jersey (SSN-796) present to meet and greet attendees. If you wonder what life is like aboard a US Navy submarine, what they eat, what they do with their time, why they chose the navy…. then this is the place to be.

    Please stop by the committee’s booth to say hello when you first enter the event.

    The submarine on the day of her christening 13 November 2021

    This promises to be a huge event dedicated to our brave men and women of the US Navy’s submarine force and to the USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796)

    Trenton Navy Week – Part 6 – Saturday May 7th

    Today consisted of tours of the Battleship New Jersey (BB-62) for crew members and setting up displays in the officers’ wardroom to showcase the submarine, the commissioning committee, and US Navy recruiting. Several tours went through the battleship and visitors stopped by to meet the sailors.

    The weather was horrendous however, with heavy rain and wind and that literally put a damper on attendance by the public.

    Trenton Navy Week – Part 4 – Thursday May 5th

    Today we switched out crew members, bringing new sailors up from VA while the original ones headed back to the submarine and shipyard. The XO remained for continuity and oversight to ensure things continued smoothly. While six sailors joined the Navy Week activities at a ‘rescue mission’ in Trenton, the committee began our namesake activities today with breakfast at the Cinnaminson Diner, in Cinnaminson, NJ.

    We’re proud of our NJ diners and want to make sure as many crew members as possible are able to enjoy the experience!

    Adapting to some schedule changes, committee member John Koehr helped work out a visit for the sailors to the Philadelphia side of the river. But first a tour of the Battleship New Jersey (another regular and important feature of each namesake visit) and signing the banner on board.

    After the tour a trip over the bridge to Philadelphia

    First stop was the cruiser Olympia (C-6) at the Independence Seaport Museum. She is listed as the oldest remaining steel ship afloat. She was built and placed into commission by the United States Navy for the first time in February 1895 as a state-of-the-art man of war.

    Next up was a visit to the USS Becuna. The Becuna is a Balao-class submarine, now a museum, and is a former United States Navy submarine. She was designated a National Historic Landmark for her service in World War II, for which she earned four battle stars.

    The crew then traveled back to New Jersey for “Cinco de Mayo” celebrations at the Bellemara Distillery in Hillsborough, hosted by Camden Winkelstein, the owner, head distiller, and also a former submarine officer. Several members of the committee joined the crew for a relaxing evening. Hillsborough Township Committeeman Frank DelCore attended the event and greeted the sailors from the submarine New Jersey (SSN-796).

    The Flounder Brewery (next door to the distillery) also hosted the sailors and kindly offered a share of their sales for the night to the committee. Thanks both to Cam at Bellemara and to Jeremy Lees (President of Flounders Brewing Co., LLC).

    Throughout the day crew members were greeted by members of the public and thanked for their service.  New Jersey crew members were deeply moved by the public support throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia and impressed by the number of proud veterans and former submariners they met.

    Trenton Navy Week – Part 3 – Wednesday May 4th

    Our originally scheduled school visit had to be cancelled due to some issues getting sufficient youngsters to attend. The 12 PCU New Jersey crew members instead joined the rest of the Navy Week sailors at a cleanup operation at Alberta Woods Park in Camden, NJ.

    Our own committee member (recently retired) US Navy Captain ‘Timi’ Lindsay, joined the sailors. She can be seen in the photo above.

    Trenton Navy Week – Part 2 – Tuesday May 3rd

    Our committee’s portion of Navy Week (which we’re supplementing with additional crew members as a ‘namesake visit’) kicked off with a visit to the major defense contractor L3Harris in Trenton, NJ.

    The folks at L3Harris really rolled out the red carpet and gave us an extensive tour allowing crew members to learn more about the company, it’s product line, and all the work that happens right there in Trenton.

    After L3Harris the sailors had lunch and then joined the rest of the sailors in NJ for Navy Week to participate in a Habitat For Humanity project for the remainder of the day.

    Trenton Navy Week – Part 1 – Monday May 2nd

    Today the committee started our own portion of the Navy Week with a tour of Princeton Plasma Physics where the crew and commissioning committee members were treated to a chance to view the NSTXU fusion reactor. This spherical device is shaped like a cored apple rather than the doughnut-like shape of conventional tokamaks. It can produce high-pressure plasmas — essential ingredients for fusion reactions — with relatively low and cost-effective magnetic fields. 


    Next stop was a quick lunch at PJ’s Pancake House in Lawrence Township as we make sure the crew visits include the ‘diner experience’.

    After lunch crew members visited Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly. The sailors gave a talk to several jNROTC units and entertained numerous questions on a variety of topics relating to life on a submarine. Great questions and some really engaged young men and women.

    Aboard BB62

    Next we moved down to Camden and went aboard the Battleship New Jersey (BB62) for a quick tour, proceeding a recruitment ceremony where several young men and women were formerly sworn into the US Navy by the CO of the PCU New Jersey, Cmdr. Jared Smith. A small US Navy band played music prior to the ceremony.

    After the ceremony we escorted the sailors from the submarine to join the committee for an informal dinner in the officers’ wardroom.

    Before breaking bread the committee presented the The Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial with the central portion of the bow flag from the submarine’s christening ceremony (as seen in the photo below). Cmdr Smith joined committee chairman Stephen Hutton in making the presentation.

    Bow flag

    Committee Chairman Stephen Hutton then presented the ‘Junior sailor of the Year’ award to TM2(SS) Trevor E. Garmane.

    Followed by ‘Senior Sailor of the Year’ to MMN1(SS) Paul E. Baker III

    We wrapped the evening up by enjoying a fun, relaxed, and casual dinner organized by our own committee member Captain Joe Lario, USN (Ret).

    A long day but a great kick off to our ‘namesake’ portion of Navy Week.

    Navy Week In New Jersey

    ‘Navy Week’ is coming to Trenton and the surrounding area the week of May 2nd and crew members from the New Jersey will be joining. The committee has managed to double the number of attendees from the submarine and will be combining Navy Week with our own activities to create a week long ‘namesake visit’.

    The week will include youth outreach, events on the Battleship New Jersey (BB62), tours of defense contractors in the area, a first pitch at the Somerset Patriots baseball team at TD Bank Ballpark, a clean up operation, work and Habitat for Humanity and more…

    Navy Weeks are the service’s signature outreach program, designed to allow the citizens of Trenton to learn about the Navy, its people, and its importance to national security and prosperity. The Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) coordinates Navy Weeks.

    View the US Navy announcement

    Honor Day at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club

    On May 26th the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club will be holding a day at a championship quality golf course to honor U.S. Military and benefit the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. This will be their 14th annual event.

    Crew members from the under construction PCU New Jersey will be present as guests of this generous organization.

    SUBFEST – Coming June 18th, 2022!

    Join us to meet and celebrate crew members of the new Virginia-class submarine THE USS NEW JERSEY!

    She’s currently wrapping up construction and will be joining the fleet next year. Meanwhile we’re bringing her crew to her namesake state to join the Jersey family and get to know us while we get to know her!

    So join us for a fun filled day of music, food, and patriotic celebration!


    SUBFEST write up

    Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Supporting Commissioning Committee

    TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation A-6012 which provides access to state funding to support the Commissioning Committee for the new USS New Jersey.

    Primary sponsors of A-6012 include Assemblymembers William Moen, Carol Murphy, and Roy Freiman, and Senators Paul Sarlo, and Vin Gopal. 

    This legislation appropriates funds from the General Fund to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee. The purpose of the appropriation is to support the commissioning of the USS New Jersey and the officers and crew assigned to the ship.

    Contributions to the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee support traditional Commissioning Week activities, visits to the state by crewmembers, and habitability upgrades to the boat for the crew. Expenditure of the amount appropriated is subject to approval by the Adjutant General of an itemized plan for the expenditure to be submitted by the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee. Any amount unexpended shall be donated for the support of personnel and their families and for the funding of existing or the creation of new United States Navy scholarship programs. 

    Read full release

    Change of Command for PCU NEW JERSEY

    CDR Jared Smith official photo.
    CDR Jared Smith official photo.

    CDR Jared Smith and CDR Carlos Otero will exchange commands this month, with CDR Smith assuming command of the PCU New Jersey, while CDR Otero assumes command of the USS New Mexico (SSN-779).

    The USS New Mexico is the second Virginia-class submarine in the Block II series and is home ported in Norfolk, VA. She is also the second US Navy ship named after the state of New Mexico.

    The committee welcomes CDR Smith and we look forward to building a great working relationship with him over the coming months.

    We’d also like to thank CDR Otero and wish him well with his new command.

    Trenton Fleet Week

    The crew of the NJY intends to maximize its support for Trenton Fleet Week 2-8 May.  We look forward to seeing a large portion of the crew attend several events and continue to better get to know its namesake state!

    Roll Out

    At the end of January or early February March or early April, NJ will be moved from its initial assembly building to a floating drydock.  Multiple hydraulic sleds will lift the 7,900 ton vessel and slowly move it a quarter of a mile to the water. 

    She will stay within the floating drydock to finish the last remaining jobs before being ready to be lowered and moored next to the pier for the first time later this spring.

    Post Core Hot Operations

    The NJY recently completed a major construction milestone of Post Core Hot Operations.  This is a series of tests and operation in the engineering plant following installation of the reactor core.

    This was the first time in the ship’s life the engineering plant was heated up to operating temperatures.  Testing covered all of the reactor safety features and mechanical safety features.  The entire engineering department was in shift work providing around the clock coverage.  Our months of training and preparation paid off and resulted in our combined team completing the evolution almost a week sooner than planned.

    The crew of the NJY continues to excel and has completed each testing milestone in less than the time predicted!

    A Great Second ‘Namesake Visit’

    Crew members visited New Jersey this past weekend for the second of our ‘namesake visits’ where we introduce the crew to NJ and NJ to the crew. Each visit is intended to highlight aspect of New Jersey’s history, economy, and culture and to let as many people in NJ as possible know about what will be the third US Navy warship to proudly carry the name USS NEW JERSEY.

    The following is a summary of the weekend – more details and photos to follow.


    This weekend started on Friday with a visit to the Battleship New Jersey (BB62) which is to be a regular feature on all visits as the battleship passes the baton to the submarine. As usual the folks at the BB62 put on a great tour, which this time included a Q&A session with their own volunteers.

    Following the BB62 the crew members travelled to Colts Neck to meet a variety of youth groups as well as United States Submarine Veterans. The Q&A was extensive as everyone seemed highly engaged.

    The evening concluded with a visit to the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Howell Township, where the crew were given the VIP treatment. View their extremely impressive golf course here

    Eagle Oaks Golf & Country Club

    Thanks to Pete Engelman, Jack Willard, Joe Lazario, Joe Velez, the members at Eagle Oaks Golf & Country Club, and all the folks at the BB62 involved in making Friday go so well.


    Saturday was Army:Navy day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Before heading to the game the commissioning committee took the crew to breakfast at the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton. Many of the crew were unfamiliar with such classic NJ/NY diners and such NJ staples as Taylor Ham (or pork roll if you are from southern NJ) and ‘Disco Fries’. Pretty sure we got a couple of converts!

    Prior to the game itself the crew and committee members were warmly welcomed by Representative Mike Sherrill at a pre-game ‘tailgate party’ in the parking lot. Representative Sherrill was generous with her time including conducting the promotion ceremony for one of the crewmen. Sherrill is a former Navy helicopter pilot.

    The crew and committee members were then ushered into the stadium prior to kickoff to spend time on the sidelines soaking up the atmosphere and taking photos.

    Prior to kickoff the crew were then taken to their seats where they watched the game. At one point they were then invited to join Governor Murphy who gave them a warm welcome and spent time with them in his suite. Governor Murphy was one of the main speakers last month in Virginia at the christening ceremony held at the Huntingdon Ingalls Industries Ship Building facility.

    The submarine and committee’s logos were briefly displayed on the Jumbotron to let everyone in the stadium know about the boat and the crew.

    After Navy beat Army! – the crew had liberty time and returned to their accommodations at NWS Earle in Colts Neck, NJ.

    Thanks to Bill Squires and Paul Blodgett for helping make this such a great day.


    On Sunday we ventured just outside of New Jersey onto the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River for the reenactment of the Continental Army’s crossing which led to the Battle of Trenton. The crew were given VIP treatment with a personal guide talking through the events of that fateful day. George Washington joined us for a quick greeting and photo opportunity before joining his militia to prepare for attacking the Hessians.

    The crew were guided down to the water’s edge where they were invited to board one of the boats to be used in the crossing and some more photos. They were then ushered to a private cordoned off area where they had an excellent view of the parading of troops and boarding of the boats for the crossing itself. While there they were given three Huzzahs by the approximately 4,000 visitors attending the event.

    Thanks to Bill Aitken for being our committee point person on this day, and to the Friends of Washington Crossing Park who organize this event each year, and were such generous hosts.

    All in all a great weekend and a lot of committee members did an outstanding job of bringing things together. Bravo Zulu team!

    USS New Jersey Christening

    On a windy but sunny Saturday in Virginia, the USS New Jersey was christened!

    A major milestone in the life of a US Navy vessel is the christening. In this case it was an opportunity to officially name the USS New Jersey and also recognize and honor the men and women responsible for constructing her.

    The ceremony took place outside of Newport News Shipbuilding’s Module Outfitting Facility and was attended by more than 1,800 guests, including Newport News Shipbuilding employees who are building New Jersey, members of the submarine’s crew, Navy personnel and other government officials, including Jeh Johnson.

    U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, of Virginia, and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, of New Jersey, both delivered remarks. Other speakers included New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy; Jay Stefany, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe Jr., director of the Navy’s strategic systems programs; and Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat.

    Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former chief of naval operations, provided an outstanding keynote address at this event on Saturday, November 13th, 2021.

    Dr. Susan DiMarco Breaks The Bottle

    The highlight of the event was when Dr. Susan DiMarco (the boat’s sponsor) broke a bottle of US sparkling wine at the bow of the boat. Pictured with Dr. DiMarco are Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding; Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former chief of naval operations; and Cmdr. Carlos Otero, the boat’s prospective commanding officer.

    In attendance from the committee were Stephen Hutton, Carlton Hoye, Peter Engelman, Joseph Velez, and John Koehr and his wife Melissa.

    Photo source:

    Montgomery/Rocky Hill Rotary Club

    Committee Chairman, Stephen Hutton, met with the Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill to present information about the submarine USS New Jersey (SSN-796) and the commissioning committee’s goal and objectives.

    The audience were very engaged and had lots of questions about the boat and it’s crew.

    Thanks to Paul Blodgett for helping make this meeting happen.

    Looking forward to conducting more events of this kind to let folks around New Jersey know about the future addition to the US Navy, the USS New Jersey (SSN-796).

    Montgomery/Rocky Hill Rotary

    Our First Namesake Visit

    On October 1st six crew members visited NJ as part of an ongoing series of ‘namesake’ visits designed to build a lasting relationship between the new submarine and the state of New Jersey.

    Day 1

    After driving up from Virginia the sailors gave a brief presentation and conducted a Q&A with jNROTC students (junior Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp) from MAST (Marine Academy of Science and Technology) in Highlands, NJ.

    Pictured below while visiting MAST are MMA3 Marcos Briones, third from left, back row, is photographed with SSN796 crew members MMNC Steven Newton, MMN2 Matthew Baker, MMN1 Nick Herrin, YNSN Charles Miller, LT Cdr Nicholas Tuuk, Monmouth County Commissioner Lillian G Burry, and MAST cadets LCDR Aislinn Crowe, Battalion Commander, LT James Abbes, deputy battalion commander, LTjg Mary Catherine Harvey, training officer, and LTjg Jenna Lewandowski , drill commander. Photo by Michael J.Colarusso

    jNROTC at MAST

    Following that event the sailors were taken by US Army veteran Shawn Welch on a tour of Fort Hancock and Fort Lewis, addressing NJ’s role in military history – specifically related to harbor defenses during WWII.

    Thanks to Shawn for taking the time to do this for us!

    The day wrapped up with liberty free time with a meal at Bahrs Landing in Highlands.

    Day 2

    A full day started with an extensive VIP tour of the BB-62, the Battleship New Jersey, as well as a presentation while there to members of the local United States Power Squadron.

    USS Nj Sub Crew signing banner
    USS NJ Sub crew with Assemblyman Spearman.jpg

    Lunch took place at the Park Place Diner in Matawan, NJ – where the sailors were welcomed warmly by the owner and other diners.

    Following lunch the sailors visited Old Bridge and participated in a car wash fundraiser for the Air Force Junior ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) at the Old Bridge High School. Afterwards the XO and crew members introduced themselves to the students and answered a number of questions about life on a submarine and how such things as fresh air and water are made while underwater.

    Shown below: the sailors washing cars to raise funds for the Air Force Junior ROTC unit in Old Bridge

    Old Bridge Car Wash

    The next stop was at a fitness event for children at the Carl Sandburg Middle School in Old Bridge. The sailors cheered for the kids as they completed their run, then took questions from parents and children about the submarine and life aboard the boat.

    The sailors then challenged some of the kids to a race the length of the football field. A couple of the sailors ‘may’ have let some of the kids beat them. This is unconfirmed!

    Liberty began with dinner at Harold’s New York Deli in Edison. Huge portions that shocked a couple of the sailors!

    The night was completed by committee members Dan Dermer and William Aitken taking the sailors to New Brunswick’s Stress Factory Comedy Club for some liberty time to relax a little after a full day.

    At the end of the evening they were requested by the owner, Vinnie Brand, to go on stage, introduce themselves and to talk about the boat. The XO did a great job talking about why they were in New Jersey and about the upcoming commissioning.

    Day 3

    On Sunday October 3rd the sailors travelled up from NWS Earle (where they had been staying) to conduct some storm damage cleanup activities primarily in Manville NJ. Manville was recently hit particularly hard by Tropical Storm Ida with extensive flood damage to homes and businesses.

    This cleanup operation was coordinated by a group called Hope Force International (HFI). Also attending and helping out were Troop 18 of the Scouts.

    Bravo Zulu to all who helped!

    In all it is believed 27 deaths occurred in NJ as a result of the storm and millions of dollars in damage occurred.

    Following the cleanup the sailors returned to Virginia, knowing NJ a lot better than before.

    Thanks to EVERYONE who made this visit such a success and set the bar so high for the next visit, which will hopefully take place in December. Plans are afoot – more to follow!

    PCU New Jersey Sailor of the Year

    On August 19th the commissioning committee travelled to Hampton Roads Navy base in Virginia to present Sailor of the Year awards recognizing the outstanding performance of two individuals from the PCU New Jersey


    Professional achievement while serving as torpedo division leading Petty Officer onboard pre-commissioning unit New Jersey (SSN 796) from January 2020 to December 2020.

    As the recreation committee president, he managed sales and events that increased morale across the command by raising over $5,000.

    As command liaison with CSS-6, he led a self defense program that increased entry control watchstanders from 12 to 42 in support of 12 local submarines.

    His outstanding performance of duties have set the standard for his peers to emulate and resulted in his selection as junior sailor of the year.

    Petty Officer Garmane’s managerial ability, personal initiative, and unswerving devotion to duty reflected credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    Committee Chairman Stephen Hutton presents Sailor of the Year certificate


    Meritorious service while serving as a member of machinery division and as assistant quality assurance officer on board PCU New Jersey (SSN 796) from January 2019 to January 2020 . Petty Officer Herrin’s outstanding performance of duty resulted in his selection as sailor of year. Using his intrusive leadership, mentorship and guidance, he molded 13 inexperienced watchstanders into a cohesive, effective and efficient watch team.

    As the assistant quality assurance officer, he instituted the command’s quality assurance program, stood up the quality assurance qualification program, and oversaw the qualification of 41 personnel completing over 150 quality assurance qualifications.

    By his exceptional professionalism and selfless devotion to duty, Petty Officer Herrin reflected credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the united states naval service.

    Committee Chairman Stephen Hutton presents Sailor of the Year certificate