A four-star admiral who was by turns despised, admired and feared within the Navy for generations due to his single-minded push to harness the power of the atom will be the namesake of the service’s newest Virginia-class attack submarine.
The USS Hyman G. Rickover will be christened Saturday at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. The company has been the primary builder of submarines for the Navy for more than 100 years.
“The future USS Hyman G. Rickover will play an important role in defending our nation during this time of strategic competition,” said Adm. James Caldwell, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program — a job once held by Adm. Rickover.
It will be the second nuclear-powered attack submarine named for Adm. Rickover, known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.”. The first was commissioned in July 1984 and patrolled the oceans until its decommissioning in December 2007.
Rickover was known as a blunt, irascible workaholic who famously had little tolerance for mediocrity. Among those who served under him in the early days of nuclear power was an admiring young Annapolis graduate and Navy lieutenant from Georgia named Jimmy Carter.
The admiral wasn’t afraid to step on toes inside the Department of Defense after cultivating a number of close contacts on Capitol Hill.
Adm. Rickover spent more than 60 years on active duty, making him the nation’s longest-serving naval officer. His team of engineers designed and constructed the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, and he directed the development of naval nuclear propulsion, closely guarding its operations for more than 30 years he spent at that assignment.
“It stands as proof of what teamwork — from civilian to contractor to military — can accomplish,” Adm. Caldwell said.