What is a “Ship’s Sponsor?”
A sponsor, in the navy, is the title given to a prominent citizen chosen to christen a naval vessel. In recent history, all U. S. Navy sponsors have been female. In addition to the ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle on the bow, the sponsor remains in contact with the ship's crew and is involved in special events throughout the life of the ship.
NEW MEXICO’s Sponsor is Mrs. Cynthia “Cindy” Giambastiani. She was selected by the Secretary of the Navy for this very important role in NEW MEXICO’s life (See the press release on the News page.). She is the only person who will be officially associated with the ship throughout its life. Cindy’s biography is below.Mrs. Cynthia “Cindy” Giambastiani Spouse to Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, USN, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Mrs. Cindy Giambastiani was raised in a military home. Her father began his career as an Air Force officer during WW II, and her two older brothers served as pilots in the Navy and Air Force during the Vietnam War. As a child, she lived all over the United States, as well as in Japan, Hawaii, and England. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition before marrying and raising two children.
As a Navy family, the Giambastianis have been stationed at various submarine and naval bases along the east and west coasts of the United States, as well as in Hawaii. For over 31 years, she has been serving in support groups and organizations in the local military communities, to include numerous volunteer jobs supporting submariners and their families, as well as her children’s extracurricular activities.
Some of her recent achievements in the military community include serving for two years as Chairman of the Spouses Program for newly selected Navy Flag Officers, and as President of Dolphin Scholarship, a scholarship for children of submariners. She co-authored the cookbook Diving with the Dolphins to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Submarine Force; proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks benefited the Dolphin Scholarship. In July 2000, she was awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award by the Navy for her selfless support of the Submarine and Navy communities. In July 2005, she was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award for her continued dedication to military spouses and families. Mrs. Giambastiani has been an “Honorary Submariner” since 1991 when she submerged while aboard the USS San Juan (SSN 751).
In her last position, Mrs. Giambastiani was the Advisor for the Tidewater Officers Spouses Association, Advisor for the Tidewater Collection, and President of the NATO Officers Wives Club. She also traveled with her husband, representing the United States at numerous NATO activities. As the wife of the Vice Chairman, she serves on various national boards and committees in the National Capitol Region; including serving as the Co-chair of this year’s Red Cross Gala in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Giambastiani is also an active supporter of the Fischer House Foundation. She hosts visiting dignitaries and foreign government officials in her home, and continues to represent the military while traveling with her husband.
Admiral and Mrs. Giambastiani have two children: Peter, 29, a Lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and Congressional Military Legislative Assistant, and Cathie, 26, a lawyer for a government agency in Washington, DC. The Giambastianis also have a two-year-old granddaughter, Hannah.