NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia-class submarine Massachusetts was christened Saturday at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.

The ceremony took place outside of Module Outfitting Facility at Newport News Shipbuilding, with about 2,000 in attendance, including NNS employees building the Massachusetts, the submarine’s crew, Navy personnel and other government officials.

It is the 25th Virginia-class submarine and the 12th that Newport News Shipbuilding has delivered.

“Shipbuilding is a noble calling, and you can see our pride in the craftsmanship before you,” Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin said in a statement. “When Massachusetts joins the fleet, she will be the latest in innovation and power, forging ahead in defense of our freedom, just like Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride. As (the Massachusetts) supports the Navy’s critical missions around the world, she will carry with her the patriotism of her shipbuilders.”

Sheryl Sandberg, the founder and chair of the Sandberg Goldberg Bernthal Family Foundation and former chief operating officer of Meta, serves as the ship’s sponsor. She broke a bottle of American sparkling wine across the submarine’s bow during the ceremony.

“I was raised to be deeply grateful for our freedom and all those who risk their lives to defend it,” Sandberg said. “So it was an honor when then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus asked me to sponsor Massachusetts eight years ago. I couldn’t be more excited to be in Newport News to celebrate this boat with the shipbuilders who have worked so hard to bring her to life. Today is more than just a christening of a vessel. It is also a celebration of progress.

“This is one of the first submarines intentionally built to allow both men and women to serve and it will make our military stronger. It is an honor to christen Massachusetts and spend the day with service members, shipbuilders and their families. They are a living legacy of all that America represents.”

In his keynote address, Navy Under Secretary Erik Raven said that, “from design, to delivery, to employment, each person here is making their vital contribution to maintaining our nation’s maritime dominance and the freedom that we all cherish.”

He said the people at Newport News Shipbuilding “are able to turn raw steel into the world’s most sophisticated undersea capabilities.”

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

“The crew and I are excited to share in this historic event with our sponsor, the shipbuilder, and all our families,” said Cmdr. Mike Siedsma, commanding officer of the pre-commissioning unit. “We look forward to operating Massachusetts in support of our nation’s defense. We are honored to establish the ‘Iron Patriots’ legacy as an enemy to tyrants.”