Bad Omen? champagne bottle smashed after 3rd try during christening of nuclear submarine USS Hyman G. Rickover

It took a third try on Saturday, during the christening ceremony of the new US Navy attack submarine USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795) at the shipyard in Groton (Connecticut), to smash a bottle of champagne against the hull.

According to a long tradition in the United States, this honor of bottle smashing is given to a woman. This time the Matron of Honor selected to perform the ritual was the wife of the former chief of staff of the US Navy, Jonathan Greenert, Darlene. However, at the last moment, she decided to transfer this mission to her daughter  Sarah Greenert McNichol, who works for General Dynamics.

She hit the side of the submarine twice with the bottle. But she did not smash, which according to Seafarer’s Superstitions is considered a bad sign for the ship. Only after being briefed by the military for the third time did Sarah succeed.

USS Hyman G. Rickover
USS Hyman G. Rickover

The tradition of christening a new ship for good luck and safe travel goes back to ancient times. The ritual of breaking or pouring of some ‘christening fluid’ has remained consistent for ages, but the fluid itself varied wildly. champagne bottles withstand enormous pressure of the wine creates as their glass is very thick, and breaking them is no easy task.

The USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795) Virginia IV is a multipurpose nuclear submarine entering the US Navy. In addition to torpedoes, the boat will carry 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 1,600 km. Its displacement reaches 7.8 thousand tons, its length is about 115 meters. The cost is estimated at $ 2.7 billion.

There are currently 19 Virginia-class nuclear submarines in service with the US Navy, including one in the latest version of the Virginia IV.

The first Hyman G. Rickover was commissioned at Submarine Base, New London, in Groton, on July 21, 1984. SSN 709 and its crew deployed 12 times until its decommissioning in December 2007. Over the years, its decorations included the Atlantic Fleet Golden Anchor Award, Submarine Squadron Eight’s anti-submarine warfare white “A” and engineering red “E” awards and the prestigious Sixth Fleet “Hook ‘Em” award for anti-submarine warfare excellence.

Rickover, known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy,” served in the Navy for 63 years on active duty. His views touched matters of design, propulsion, education, personnel and professional standards. His team of engineers designed and constructed the first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN 571). This accomplishment led to the world’s preeminent fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.

In total, the US Navy has (excluding 18 strategic) 50 nuclear submarines.

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