Wisconsin Veterans Museum unveils piece of new nuclear submarine

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Veterans Museum unveiled a piece of the new USS Wisconsin (SSBN 827) submarine in a ceremony on Saturday. 

The U.S. Navy has named one of 12 new Columbia-class nuclear submarines as USS Wisconsin in honor of the state’s century-long naval traditions. 

“It’s a huge deal,” said Christopher Kolakowski, the Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. “There are not that many ships in the United States Navy.  There’s less than 200 ships sailing the waters today on active duty. To have one of them connected to Wisconsin and named after the states is a big deal.”

The vessel is one of 12 subs under construction at Newport News in Virginia at a cost of 7.59 billion dollars. Its length will be 560 feet, which is approximately double the height of the Wisconsin State Capitol building.

“Having Wisconsin, something named for this great state, to go around the world and be part of the active Navy is just an incredible thing for the state,” said Kolakowski.

Mary Kolar is the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs. She said adding this to the museum’s already vast collection is great for all veterans, even those outside of the navy. 

“This submarine will carry the name of the Badger State,” said Kolar  We want to support the crew and their families and maintain that connection with Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin has a long association with U.S. Navy tradition. The Illinois-class battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-9) sailed as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet from 1898-1903 and sailed around the world with the Great White Fleet in 1909. She was retired as a training ship in 1910.

“It’s the pride that Wisconsin has in its maritime history and future,” said Kolar.

Outside of just a commemoration for those involved in the country’s armed forces, Rep. Kevin Petersen says this piece will be important for young people to see at the museum.

“Our young present generation gets to learn about STEM,” said Petersen. “If you think about all the STEM activities the science the technology that comes on board a submarine. We are now bridging people from the submarine force to the home state.”

The submarine is scheduled for completion in 2030. It’s expected to be used by the US Navy for at least 40 years.

To learn more about other items at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, information is on their website, along with their hours of visitation.