The state of North Dakota is recognizing its namesake submarine, Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota (SSN 784), in a unique way by proclaiming Jan. 11 “USS North Dakota Day.”
Cmdr. Doug Gordon, commanding officer, PCU North Dakota, will visit the state, Jan. 9-11, to participate in the events surrounding this special day and to take advantage of the visit to update state citizens on the construction of the Virginia-class attack submarine. He will educate citizens on the submarine’s role in the nation’s maritime strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
“Namesake visits are important steps taken during the construction phase of a submarine because it increases the level of awareness as well as the investment being made by the taxpayers of North Dakota and our nation,” said Gordon. “Additionally, namesake visits, particularly when one day of the year is named after the future USS North Dakota are truly special markers to remember during our boat’s construction.”
The proclamation recognizing the eleventh day of January as “USS North Dakota Day” was issued by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. The proclamation stated the following,
“The USS North Dakota will represent the most advanced Virginia-class nuclear powered attack submarine in the world when commissioned in 2014; and the USS North Dakota is a source of pride and honor for us all; and it is fitting to recognize our boat and her crew and to celebrate this outstanding addition to the U.S. Navy.”
During the namesake visit, Gordon will address North Dakota’s Senate and House of Representatives to report on the construction of the Navy’s newest attack submarine.
Additionally, Gordon will also visit the Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy to observe ongoing project-based science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities for students.
Bob Wefald, USS North Dakota committee chairman, who helped to coordinate the namesake visit, looks forward to the state supporting their submarine during her 33 years of service.
“For the sixty months while the sub is under construction she is known as Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota,” said Wefald. “She will become United States Ship North Dakota when she is commissioned and joins the fleet in 2014.”
PCU North Dakota will be delivered by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton and will be the 11th Virginia-class submarine when it is commissioned in 2014. As the first “Block III” Virginia, North Dakota will be the first of its class built with large-diameter tubes in the bow, a new type of bow sonar, and dozens of more discrete changes designed to reduce the ships construction and life cycle costs without sacrificing warfighting capabilities.
The submarine will become only the second ship named in honor of North Dakota, with the other being the Delaware-class battleship USS North Dakota, which was in service from 1910 to 1923.
Naval Today Staff, January 11, 2013; Image: US Navy