Montana (SSN 794) Christening Remarks

By Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin (as prepared)
Montana (SSN 794) Christening Remarks
Newport News Shipbuilding Virginia-class Submarines

The tradition of christening ships dates back more than 4,000 years. Newport News Shipbuilding has participated in this time-honored practice since our company’s founding more than a century ago. It’s an important ceremony in the life of a ship, signaling it is watertight, ready to launch, and prepared to start the next and final stage of its construction before going to sea.

Jennifer Boykin
Jennifer Boykin delivers remarks at the Montana (SSN 794) christening ceremony, held Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 at Newport News Shipbuilding. 

For our shipbuilders, the christening signifies years of hard work, commitment and dedicated service. It is also a visible reminder of the ways in which we serve our nation and contribute to its defense. 

Whether it’s with welding torches, or with engineering calculations… by negotiating contracts, purchasing material, pouring steel… or by keeping our facility clean and sanitized in the midst of a global pandemic, our shipbuilders – 25,000 strong – contribute each and every day to something greater than themselves.

A ship’s christening is one of the very few opportunities to bring our loved ones inside the facility to see the results of our work – the impact of which is immeasurable. There is nothing more satisfying than experiencing the awe and wonder of your child, your spouse or your parent seeing for the first time, a majestically stealthy boat like Montana, leaving you beyond proud to say, “I helped to build that.”

So, yes, we are disappointed we couldn’t host the normal pomp and circumstance today, and that our shipbuilders and their families couldn’t be here in person to witness history. But as shipbuilders, we know the show must go on. Our work doesn’t stop for a pandemic, just as the Navy’s mission never ends.

It is our honor, our duty and our calling to keep the wheels of shipbuilding turning, and in doing so, bring Montana one step closer to her ultimate mission of defending the United States of America.

About HII

HII is a global, all-domain defense partner, building and delivering the world’s most powerful, survivable naval ships and technologies that safeguard our seas, sky, land, space and cyber. As America’s largest shipbuilder and with a more than 135-year history of advancing U.S. national defense, we are united by our mission in service of the heroes who protect our freedom. HII’s diverse workforce includes skilled tradespeople; artificial intelligence, machine learning (AI/ML) experts; engineers; technologists; scientists; logistics experts; and business professionals. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s workforce is 44,000 strong. For more information, visit: