1 of 3 | President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden spoke at a closed ceremony to celebrate the commissioning of the USS Delaware submarine at the Port of Wilmington on Saturday. Screenshot courtesy the White House
April 2 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden spoke at a closed ceremony to celebrate the commissioning of the USS Delaware submarine at the Port of Wilmington on Saturday.
The commander-in-chief attended the ceremony to introduce Jill Biden, the sponsor of the submarine. Sponsors are honorary roles traditionally given to a female civilian who participates in the major milestones of a nautical vessel and maintains contact with its crew.
"My name is Joe Biden and I'm Jill's husband. It's always a good day when I get to celebrate Delaware or spend time with service members and their families or introduce Jill. That's a trifecta in my family," Joe Biden said.
"This latest ship to carry the USS Delaware is part of a long tradition of serving our nation proudly and strengthening our nation's security, the security of the United States of America."
Jill Biden in her speech praised the state of Delaware, the namesake for the nuclear-powered submarine and the Bidens' home state. It is the first time a submarine has been named after Delaware.
"The state of Delaware has loved the Bidens and cheered for us in our most triumphant moments. It has carried us through the darkest times of our lives with a kindness that asks for nothing in return. Delaware is family," Jill Biden said.
"This vessel will always uphold the First State's motto of Liberty and Independence. It's difficult to put into words how much it means to be a part of the USS Delaware family. It is an incredible honor that I take seriously."
Jill Biden noted in her speech that the USS Delaware was officially commissioned in April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented the hosting of the customary commissioning celebration. It was the first ship to be commissioned while underwater and underway.
"It was a challenge to put a ship in service in the middle of a global pandemic but you rose to the occasion as you always do," Jill Biden said.
"Even if we are a little delayed in our celebration, today marks the beginning of an incredible journey -- the ship's long and fateful service to our country."
Jill Biden also addressed family members of the 125 crewmembers onboard the 7,800-ton vessel.
"Though the spouses and the children, parents and siblings with us today will stay on dry land, a piece of their hearts will sail away again and again. You too have a mission. You too serve our nation," Jill Biden said.
"You the families of this crew might not wear a uniform but with your love and support and sacrifice and devotion, you are as critical to our mission as the rudder is to this submarine."
The first lady also made remarks remembering Beau Biden, a former major in the Delaware Army National Guard who had deployed to Iraq and was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his service.