Montana (SSN 794) Christening Remarks

By Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin (as prepared)

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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.

Contact information

Duane Bourne
Manager of Media Relations
(757) 380-3581

About Huntington Ingalls

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division supports national security missions around the globe with unmanned systems, defense and federal solutions, and nuclear and environmental services. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 42,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:

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