I Christen Thee USS North Dakota
It has been a long time since a United States naval vessel carried the name of North Dakota. The dreadnought battleship North Dakota was decommissioned in 1923. Now, once again, the USS North Dakota sails the seas. In July, 2008 the Secretary of the Navy honored the state by announcing that a new Virginia-class submarine would be christened the North Dakota. This came after a determined twenty year campaign by North Dakotans to “Float the Boat.” The sub was christened in Groton, Connecticut, on this date in 2013, as ship’s sponsor Katie Fowler broke a bottle of sparkling wine against the hull. She gave the traditional blessing for a new sailing vessel: “May God bless her and all that sail in her.”
More than 4,500 dignitaries, sailors, and shipyard personnel were in attendance. Commander Submarine Forces Michael Connor told the crowd that the North Dakota would be a badly needed addition to the submarine force. He said the sub will be able to deliver speed, agility, stealth, endurance, and firepower anywhere in the world. As a Virginia-class submarine, it has improved stealth and surveillance capabilities. Connor noted that the North Dakota will be able to attack targets on land with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles, and can conduct long-term surveillance missions. As a nuclear submarine, the North Dakota will never have to refuel. And it can operate at more than 25 knots while underwater.
After sea trials, the North Dakota was formally commissioned in October, 2014. Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, told the officers and crew that their mission is clear. He said, “Your job is to keep the nation safe, respond to crises, and deter aggression. And if deterrence fails, your job is to win our nation’s war.” The sub’s skipper, Captain Douglas Gordon, then invited the ship’s sponsor to give the order to man the boat. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Katie Fowler gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life.”
Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher
America’s Navy. "http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=77436" http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=77436 Accessed 10/2/15
" http://www.kxnet.com/story/23860517/uss-north-dakota-christening Accessed 10/2/2015
The Bismarck Tribune. “Navy’s newest submarine North Dakota commissioned.” 26 October, 2014.