July 29 marked the 19th year of commissioned service for the nuclear ballistic missile submarine Maine.

Many people, it is safe to assume, do not know of her existence. She patrols the deepest parts of the ocean as a quiet sentinel, hoping to never unleash the great destructive power that is encased in her 24 missile tubes (more destructive power than in all the wars in the entire history of warfare).

She was commissioned at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery on a hot day. I was happy to be in attendance, having the opportunity to serve on her commissioning committee with the Navy League. I never felt such pride and awe at looking at the huge vessel and being a part of all that.

My father attended the ceremony as well. My father, a Navy man from World War II, is now passed, but I treasure a photo of us standing in front of the USS Maine. I will treasure the day and memory forever.

George Nanos

naval historian