Previous Ships Named Colorado

The submarine Colorado is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the nation’s 38th state.

The first Colorado was a three-masted steam-screw frigate launched at Norfolk Navy Yard in 1856. During the Civil War, Colorado was flagship of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and played a prominent role in the seizure of Fort Fisher in North Carolina. In the post-war years, the ship cruised on Asiatic Station; in 1885, the ship was sold to private interests and broken up.

The next ship named for Colorado was a 13,680-ton armored cruiser launched in Philadelphia in 1903. In 1915, Colorado became the flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, and a year later, was renamed Pueblo so that a larger ship could bear the name of the Centennial State. USS Pueblo escorted troop ships to France in 1917, and after the end of the war in 1918, brought more than 10,000 troops home to the U.S.

The third ship named Colorado, the lead ship of the Colorado Class of battleships, was launched in Camden, N.J., in 1921. During World War II, the ship participated in the invasions of Kwajalein and Eniwetok in 1944 and later provided fire support for the landings at Saipan, Guam and Tinian. While off Tinian, Colorado received 22 hits from shore batteries, killing 43 men and wounding 198. A week after arriving in Leyte Gulf, the ship was hit by two kamikazes, which killed 19 of its crew. Colorado received seven battle stars for World War II service; in 1947, the ship was taken out of commission.

The Submarine Colorado

Colorado is the 15th submarine of the Virginia Class – and with its sister ships – represents a revolution in submarine design, construction and mission capability. This versatile and powerful vessel will maximize the contribution the U.S. Submarine Force makes to national security.

Colorado and the Virginia Class are among the most effective platforms in the U.S. Navy portfolio. Unobtrusive, non-provocative and connected with land, air, sea and space-based assets, these submarines are equipped to wage multi-dimensional warfare around the globe.

The central characteristic of the class is the modularity derived from the design / build approach, which supports efficient construction and mission capability. This provides the U.S. Navy with a submarine class that advances the state-of-the-art with each succeeding ship. Colorado’s adaptability makes it highly responsive to changing mission requirements.

Electric Boat, its construction partner Newport News Shipbuilding, and the U.S. Navy continue collaborating to reduce the cost of future ships while introducing new capabilities to ensure the ongoing relevance of Colorado and the Virginia Class. Our goal remains unchanged – to provide the U.S. Navy with the most sophisticated undersea warships in the world.

Colorado will provide the submarine force with the capabilities required to dominate the open ocean and the littorals. In addition to anti-submarine, anti-surface ship and counter-mine warfare, Colorado will support surveillance, Special Operations and covert strike missions. Looking ahead, Electric Boat will continue to develop and refine innovative processes to reduce the cost of future ships while introducing new capabilities that will ensure the relevance of Colorado and the Virginia Class well into the future.

Establishment of the Submarine Colorado Crest

The crest of USS COLORADO (SSN 788) is contained within the silhouette of the head of a charging mustang, symbolizing the determined nature of the great state of Colorado. This nature of unbridled determination will carry on in the attitude of the crew of USS COLORADO. The fundamental elements of the background are derived from the Colorado state flag. Above the waterline lies the white, snow-covered Rocky Mountains standing tall over the landscape and concealing destructive power within their icy ridges. These mountains represent the mighty and majestic nature of submarines. Upon the reflection in the water rests a submarine, representing USS COLORADO, transiting forward, into the unknown. Along the collar of the horse lie seven stars that represent the Battle Stars awarded to the battleship USS COLORADO (BB-45) for exemplary service in World War II, and reflect the spirit of excellence present in the crew aboard the new USS COLORADO. Finally, the latin motto, Terra Marique Indomita translates to "untamed by land and sea." Although only three words and a straightforward translation, the motto actually has three distinct meanings:

Terra Indomita
The first part above the water, recognizes the state of Colorado standing untamed by land throughout history
Marique Indomita
The second part from the reflection, recognizes the submarine, USS COLORADO, standing untamed by the sea
Terra Marique Indomita
Together, the motto recognizes the spirit of USS COLORADO, both the ship and her crew, a spirit that remains untamed by the rugged terrain and weather extremes of land, and untamed by the rough waves and dark depths of the sea.

From late 2014 into early 2015, the USS Colorado (SSN 788) Commissioning Committee coordinated a competition to design the official crest of the USS COLORADO. In April 2015. after receiving over 100 submissions from all across the world, the Commissioning Committee and the crew of PCU COLORADO evaluated the submissions and ultimately selected the design of Michael F. Nielson, to serve as the ship's official crest. After the selection, the designer was contacted to provide some personal background information and finalize the design. It was at that time the command and the Commissioning Committee learned that the designer was both a naval officer and Colorado native who was completing initial training for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and had orders to report to PCU COLORADO. After completion of his training in October 2015, LTJG Nielson reported to PCU COLORADO as one of the first two Junior Officers.

Construction Timeline



March 2

Construction begins


June 25

Naming ceremony


March 7

Keel laying


Feb. 29

Pressure hull complete


Dec. 3

Christening ceremony


Aug. 31

Contract delivery date