GROTON, Conn. (AP) – The U.S. Navy invoked the war on terrorism Saturday as it christened its newest attack submarine.

The New Hampshire was christened by the widow of a pilot who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“I believe I’m looking at heroes,” Cheryl McGuinness, of Portsmouth, N.H., said, looking at the ship’s crew. “You all are my heroes.”

Her husband, Thomas McGuinness, was co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, which was flown into the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

The 7,800-ton, 337-foot submarine was built by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

“She’s a living, breathing soul who will provide a home to her crew,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. His eastern Connecticut district includes the Electric Boat shipyard.

The Navy said the boat, which will have a crew of about 134, is an example of efficiencies in technology and budget advances. It was delivered $54 million under budget and eight months ahead of schedule, the Navy said.

A crowd of a couple of thousand onlookers, including officials of the Navy, members of Congress and Electric Boat workers helped celebrate the christening at the Electric Boat shipyard.

Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of naval reactors, said two previous Navy vessels bore the name of the Granite State.

“Now it’s time for this ‘New Hampshire’ to continue the seafaring legacy of the ships before,” he said. “We’ll soon depend on this crew to take this submarine into harm’s way.”

The submarine is scheduled to begin sea trials this summer and is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in October at a ceremony at the Naval shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

“New Hampshire has come to pick up the keys,” said Rep. Carol Shea Porter, D-N.H.

Gary Newsome of Niantic, an Electric Boat worker, said he is proud of his and other’s handiwork.

“It’s a good sense of accomplishment, seeing everything done,” he said.

The submarine was named with the help of New Hampshire schoolchildren, who began a letter-writing campaign in 2003. Students at Garrison School in Dover sent letters to senators, congressmen, the governor, the secretary of the Navy and others.

The first ship named for New Hampshire was in service from 1846 to 1921, including during the Civil War. The second, from 1908 to 1921, was a battleship used for convoy escort duty during World War I and as a training ship.

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