Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden Delivers Keynote Speech at Christening of PCU Oregon

October 8, 2019
Press Release

Greg Walden delivers keynote speech at christening of PCU Oregon.

Saturday, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) delivered the keynote speech at the christening of PCU Oregon in Groton, Connecticut. The vessel is the U.S. Navy's newest submarine and the third navy vessel to carry the state's name. The submarine was christened with water from Crater Lake and Wine from Oregon. Watch news coverage of the event and Walden's exclusive interview with Central Oregon Daily here.

Below are Remarks:

 

Click here or on the image above to watch the remarks.

Below are Walden's Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning,

I am delighted, humbled and honored to represent my state of Oregon; to look out on such a powerful force for freedom -- the PCU Oregon; and to say “thank you” to the best fighting force of men and women that has ever sailed the seas. 

Theodore Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy when construction began in the fall of 1891 on the last U.S.S. Oregon.  Roosevelt fought for naval superiority, and with good reason.

In 1898, the Oregon, under the command of Capt. Charles Edgar Clark, and with two-thousand extra tons of ammunition and coal, would travel about 250 nautical miles a day, battling harsh seas to join up with the North Atlantic Squadron in Peru on her way to fight in the Spanish-American War.  She burned through 4,100 tons of coal and traveled 14,500 miles in only 66 days -- an unprecedented feat.

The New York Times declared the Oregon was “the most famous vessel in the American Navy, and among the modern fleets of the world there is no fighting vessel whose engines and batteries have accomplished more.”  She was called the “Bulldog of the Navy” and was said to have a “bone in her teeth.”

The Oregon was again called upon in World War I, but by World War II the Oregon’s outdated structure meant her highest value was scrap for steel to further the war effort.

While it has been many years since the original U.S.S Oregon sailed her last voyage -- we shall always remember the brave sailors who so proudly answered the call of freedom.

Today we gathered to carry on this storied tradition by christening the future U.S.S. Oregon: a fast-attack, Virginia-class, nuclear powered submarine that will more than carry on the proud legacy of its predecessor.  

This sub is 26 feet longer and can travel underwater 12 knots faster than the battleship it’s named for could travel upon the sea. 

The task to build such a submarine takes time, thought, resources, and skill. It takes hard work and true American craftsmanship and innovation.

Everyone who helped design and build this submarine is a patriot; a defender of freedom.  You have done your duty to help secure the safety of all Americans -- and our allies. And we thank you -- especially those workers from General Dynamics Electric Boat -- whose time and talent skillfully built this incredible submarine.

Please join me in applauding these men and women. 

It is imperative, for the sake of the nation’s security, that Congress provides our Department of the Defense (DoD) with the budget necessary to build out our Navy and strengthen our military.

Thankfully, President Trump believes in this mission and is committed to supporting our nation’s military and veterans.  His budget backs up his words on both counts.  As a result, we are able to make sure the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform have the latest equipment and best training possible to defend our country and to protect themselves when in harms’ way. 

And it is these men and women who will light the lights of this sub and give the U.S.S. Oregon its soul.  They will secure our freedom and protect our future.

I am inspired by their selfless commitment.

Those who answer the call to serve are the best of us.

For generations, Americans have served this nation with honor. They have selflessly sacrificed on behalf of people they will never know.

Some have become prisoners of war, other heroes remain missing in action, and too many paid the ultimate price -- one that we can never fully repay.

The U.S.S. Oregon and her crew know just how serious their mission is:  hunting down, and if needed, eliminating enemy submarines and ships that are armed with the capabilities of nuclear warfare.

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Michael J. Connor referenced these fast-attack submarines as a “game-changer” when it comes to working against rival military superpowers.

Consider the gravity of this mission: the submarine before us has the capability to prevent nuclear war.

The U.S.S. Oregon will not just be a guardian of the seas and a protector of freedom, but also, she will be home to roughly 130 sailors.  In the darkest depths of the ocean, her fortified hull and advanced sonar capabilities, will protect these brave warriors. 

The security of America is their mission, their job, their noble commitment.

Neither the life nor the work is easy, but the role of a submarine and its crew is pivotal for America’s national security. It plays a large role in our country’s power stance in the world -- not just today, but for many tomorrows.

Even in the darkest places, I know the light of freedom will guide the U.S.S Oregon and her crew.  And just remember, as wet and dark as it can get down there, we might just have wetter and darker times during the long winters in Oregon!  There’s a reason we’re called Ducks and Beavers.

Today, we will christen this ship with sparkling Oregon wine, and water from Crater Lake -- the deepest lake in North America, about two-and-a-half times deeper than published depth limit of this sub. 

The U.S.S Oregon will navigate through the world’s oceans, touching every corner of the globe as she protects our great nation. She and her crew with be a symbol of freedom and democracy to all who encounter her.

I pray that the strength she projects will ensure the peace we all seek and that she will never see battle, never face danger, and always serve honorably, returning from each mission unscathed, and her crew will live long and prosperous lives.

But should they encounter the face of evil, I know she and they will live up to her great name, and honor those who built her -- by doing what she and her crew were trained to do -- defend freedom loving peoples.

Fair winds and following seas to the U.S.S Oregon and her crew.

May God Bless her and her crew…and may God bless the United States of America.