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USS Jimmy Carter joins fleet

The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) is the first submarine to be named after an ex-president. It’s namesake once served in the Navy as a submariner. - U.S. Navy photo
The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) is the first submarine to be named after an ex-president. It’s namesake once served in the Navy as a submariner.
— image credit: U.S. Navy photo

GROTON, Conn. — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called Saturday’s commissioning ceremony of the submarine named after him “the most deeply appreciated and emotional honor I’ve ever had.”

With a $3.2 billion price tag, the USS Jimmy Carter is the the most technologically advanced submarine ever built. Its $923 million, 100-foot hull extension is a hangar bay which can house future generations of weapons and unmanned undersea vehicles such as those in development at Keyport.

Some intelligence experts have said the hull extension also allows the submarine to conduct intelligence gathering by tapping undersea fiber optic cables, something Navy officials deny.

“I know that (the captain and crew’s) dedication is to use its extraordinary capabilities, many top secret, to preserve peace, protect our country and to keep high the banner of human rights around the world,” Carter said in his prepared remarks to the crowd of 2,500 gathered at the Naval Submarine Base New London. The submarine is the first to be named after an ex-president.

Carter, himself a submariner during his stint in the Navy, was joined by his wife Rosalynn, former Vice President Walter Mondale and Stansfield Turner, CIA director during the Carter administration.

“There are limits to what I can say on

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