Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Plaque unveiled at state Capitol for USS Colorado nuclear attack submarine

March 11, 2018 Updated: March 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm
0
Caption +
Gov. John Hickenlooper accepts a bronze rendition of the crest designed for the USS Colorado on Friday, March 9, 2018, just over a week before the nuclear attack submarine's scheduled commissioning, at the state Capitol in Denver. The plaque will hang in the South Foyer of the Capitol. Others present for the unveilign of the plaque, which will hang in the South Foyer of the Capitol, are Aurora Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Hougen; Capt. JJ Mackin, the chairman of the submarine's commissioning committee; Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs; and state Reps. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, and Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Gov. John Hickenlooper unveiled a bronze rendition of the crest of the USS Colorado in a ceremony Friday afternoon at the state Capitol, where the plaque will hang permanently as a reminder that the advanced nuclear attack submarine bears the state's name.

"We have every expectation that the new USS Colorado will faithfully continue representing this state's pioneering spirit and be able to go places no one else can go - 'by land and sea untamed,' which I believe is the motto of the ship," said Hickenlooper, surrounded by lawmakers and civic leaders who have led the state's involvement with the submarine as it nears its commissioning.

"This is a landmark day and begins several festivities to honor the crew of the USS Colorado and its commissioning into the U.S. Navy fleet," state Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, told Colorado Politics before the unveiling.

In recent years, Gardner has sponsored legislation to fund Colorado's participation in the vessel's launch, as well as allow the plaque to be placed at the Capitol - "You thought the Navy was bureaucratic," he joked, "you ought to try to get something hung at the Capitol" - and to create a special license plate honoring the submarine.

The $2.7 billion, 370-foot Virginia-class submarine, the fourth Navy vessel to bear the state's name since the Civil War, was christened in December 2016 and will be commissioned next Saturday in Groton, Conn.

The ship's crest, which incorporates the Latin motto "Terra Marique Indomila," was designed by Lt. j.g. Mike Nielson of Arvada, a member of the submarine's crew, whose entry was chosen in a worldwide contest from among more than 100 submissions. The judges who picked Nielson's entry were not aware he was in the Navy or from Colorado. The bronze depiction of the crest on the plaque, donated by the Anschutz Foundation, was created by renowned Native American sculptor Doug Hyde.

"The Anschutz Foundation is proud to be here today and excited this day is finally here," Christian Anschutz, the foundation's president, said before the ceremony. "We couldn't be more proud to stand behind the sailors who are going to serve on the USS Colorado and what this means to our country."

The charity's founder, Phil Anschutz, owns the parent company of Colorado Politics and The Gazette.

State Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, has also sponsored bills related to submarine.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not only to see a new Navy boat commissioned, but the USS Colorado, which carries on the rich tradition in the Navy, where the last USS Colorado was commissioned almost 100 years ago," Liston said, referring to a battleship commissioned in 1923 that earned seven battle stars in World War II.

State Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, another sponsor of legislation involving the submarine, said the occasion reminded him that a distant ancestor is considered the first combat submariner in history. During the Revolutionary War, the lawmaker said, Ezra Lee of Lyme, Conn., piloted a craft called the Turtle in an unsuccessful attempt to attach an underwater explosive to a British warship in New York Harbor.

"It's a terrific honor to have a submarine named for our state," Lee said. "There is a certain irony for me to stand here, hundreds of years later as a sponsor of a resolution to honor a ship named after the great state of Colorado."

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.