HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division moved another step closer toward delivery of Virginia-class submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) to the U.S. Navy when the first meal was recently served aboard the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine.

New Jersey is currently pierside at NNS and is in the final stages of construction and testing.

To celebrate the first meal, the crew welcomed the ship’s sponsor, Susan DiMarco, who is a New Jersey resident, retired dentist and the wife of former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, to dine with them. The menu included some of the crew’s voted favorites, such as barbeque brisket, baked catfish, cornbread, accompanying side dishes and coveted “hard pack” ice cream.

“The first meal is a meaningful milestone in the submarine’s construction as it represents the start of what will be thousands of meals served aboard New Jersey as the crew prepares to bring her into the fleet,” said Jason Ward, NNS vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “We understand the important mission ahead for New Jersey and we look forward to delivering this critical asset in service of the nation.”

“It’s refreshing to see the crew transition to working and eating onboard as we achieve the first step in bringing the ship to life,” said Cmdr. Steve Halle, commanding officer of the pre-commissioning unit. “We are excited to share this milestone with our sponsor, Susan, her son, and some commissioning members as we grow our relationship with the state of New Jersey.”

New Jersey was christened in November 2021 at NNS. It is the first submarine designed with modifications for gender integration. Following successful sea trials later this year, New Jersey will be the 11th Virginia-class submarine delivered by NNS.

NNS is one of only two shipyards capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines for the U.S. Navy.