The USS Idaho – A New Virginia Class Submarine

A new Navy submarine set to be commissioned in 2023 will be named the USS Idaho (SSN799). It’s been over 100 years since a ship carried the name of the Gem State, and this vessel will be entirely different than its predecessor. This submarine will be a nuclear attack sub with all the latest “bells and whistles.” It should, for the price tag of $2.6 Billion. Its name was chosen in 2015.

The new USS Idaho is said to be 377 feet long, and will carry a crew of 120 enlisted plus 14 officers. Construction for the submarine began in August, 2020. Four of the crew members will be Idaho natives.

“We want to honor the legacy forged by the previous sailors on the USS Idaho. She was in service from 1919 to 1946, fought in World War II and was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered in 1945.”

Nick Meyers the commanding officer of the future USS Idaho to Steve Dent at KIVITV.

Those involved with the commissioning project are excited to welcome the newest USS Idaho namesake.

Construction first began for the submarine in August, according to Richard Colburn, a retired U.S. Navy captain and the chairman of the USS Idaho Commissioning Committee.

It has been more than 100 years since a U.S. Navy commissioned a vessel with Idaho’s name, as a BB-42 Battleship was launched in 1919.

That ship, known as “The Big Spud,” set sail in World War II and was used in the Pacific Ocean in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, according to Colburn. The old battleship was also present for the formal surrender of the Japanese in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, the official end to the war.

“It’s been a very long time since a ship has been named Idaho,” Colburn said Thursday.

Stars and Stripes

Next year the ship will be christened, and for a year after that trials with a crew will be held. It will be the 26th vessel in the Navy’s Virginia class submarine fleet.

The committee is trying to find the right nickname for the submarine. Everything from “The Gem of the Fleet” to “The Fully Loaded Big Spud” has been proposed (and that last one is likely appropriate, given the attack nature of the vessel.)

Those involved with the project want the submarine to “feel like Idaho” when the crew boards it. How they plan to accomplish that is unknown, but they are excited to make it happen.

It’s a little unique, it’s kind of strange and kind of scary. But once you get used to it you see the beauty that is the machine as it operates as the crew does everything that they need to do, it really becomes ingrained in you and you become part of a family.

Andrew Leonhardt from Nampa, Idaho

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Featured photo: artist rendering of the USS Idaho – Dustin Leverett/KTVB

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