WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven will participate in the commissioning ceremony for the USS North Dakota, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine named for the state and designed to meet the demands of the 21st Century. The ceremony, which officially places the submarine in active service, will take place on Saturday, October 25, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT in Groton, Conn.
When he was governor, the senator worked collaboratively to name a modern, high-tech naval vessel for the state of North Dakota. In the summer of 2008, he and the state’s congressional delegation visited then-Secretary of the Navy Don Winter in Washington to advance the effort. An earlier USS North Dakota, a battleship, was decommissioned by the Navy in 1923 and subsequently used as a “target ship.” Hearing that story, Secretary Winter was very receptive to the idea of a new, modern USS North Dakota, and a few weeks after the visit the secretary made it official.
“Commissioning the USS North Dakota today stands as a fitting way to pay tribute to our state’s love of country and commitment to serve and defend it,” said Hoeven. “It is especially fitting that we commission this state-of-the-art vessel as North Dakota is about to celebrates our 125th anniversary of statehood. The USS North Dakota will officially join the world’s most elite Navy. We commend everyone who has worked to realize this project and offer our thanks and prayers to the crew who will now man this sub.”
Saturday’s commissioning occurs just days before the state officially celebrates its 125th anniversary of statehood. North Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889, when President Benjamin Harrison signed the Proclamation of Admission. South Dakota was also admitted on that day.
The USS North Dakota incorporates the latest technological advancements, including sophisticated surveillance, reconnaissance, special operations and anti-submarine capabilities. It has a built-in reactor plant that will fuel the submarine throughout the duration of its estimated 33-year service life expectancy.
The ceremony will stream live at www.navy.mil and will be broadcast live on several North Dakota television stations.