Keel laying held in Rhode Island for new Navy submarine

By The Associated Press 

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) _ The keel of the nation’s 17th Virginia-class attack submarine named for South Dakota has been laid in a ceremony featuring Deanie Dempsey.        

The milestone was marked Monday at the Rhode Island manufacturing plant for General Dynamics’ Electric Boat.        

Dempsey, the ship’s sponsor, is the wife of retired U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

She says she’s thrilled to start this relationship with the submarine and crew.

In a Navy tradition, Dempsey wrote her initials on a metal plate to be mounted on the submarine.

The submarine doesn’t have a traditional keel running the length of the ship. It’s built in modules.

Martin Dempsey says that the “merging of men and machines” is remarkable.        

Groton, Connecticut-based Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia build submarines.

(C) The Associated Press 2016