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U.S. Navy Commissions Virginia-class Submarine North Dakota

The U.S. Navy will commission its newest Virginia-class attack submarine North Dakota (SSN 784) during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, according to a Navy press release.

North Dakota is the second ship named in honor of the state of North Dakota, and the 11th Virginia-class submarine. The first USS North Dakota (BB 29), was a Delaware-class battleship commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1910, displacing 24,320 tons with a main armament of 10 12-inch guns. She was decommissioned in 1923.

The North Dakota will be able to attack targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces, among many other missions, including anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, special operations forces delivery and support, and mine delivery and minefield mapping.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert will deliver the principal address during the commissioning. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship’s sponsor, Katie Fowler, will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” She is the wife of retired Vice Adm. Jeff Fowler.

“USS North Dakota and her crew represent the finest we have to offer in our Navy’s undersea force,” Greenert said. “They will continue a legacy of heroism and rich tradition since the earliest days of our submarine program. This fine crew will benefit from the steadfast dedication and commitment of its sponsor, Katie Fowler; she has devoted herself to the service life of this fine ship and whose spirit and presence will serve as a guide for both ship and crew.”

North Dakota bravo trials

North Dakota returns to port during sea trials. U.S. Navy photo

The Virginia-class attack submarines replace the Los Angeles class attack submarines, and are planned to provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century, including improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that enable them to carry out multiple missions.

The North Dakota will be able to attack targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces, among many other missions, including anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, special operations forces delivery and support, and mine delivery and minefield mapping.