Great weather always helps, and Saturday, October 25th, at the US Naval Base in Groton, Connecticut, the weather was perfect! The sun shining and the wind was very light making it a perfect day out on Pier 17 as the NORTH DAKOTA was placed into active service with the World’s Greatest Navy as United States Ship NORTH DAKOTA – USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784)!
Everything went very well from the beginning Ship’s Sponsor’s Luncheon and boat tours on Friday afternoon through the Ship’s Party for the crew on Saturday evening. Only I myself noticed a few insignificant mistakes, so I am happy to say we all did North Dakota proud!
Our USSND Committee had a photographer taking lots of digital photos and when we sort them out we will post some of the photos on this blog.
Here is a link to the entire 80 minute commissioning ceremony recorded by the Navy. Unfortunately the sound quality is not good as you have to turn your volume up full blast to even hear what was being said.
The KX network had several stories about the commissioning:
http://www.kxnet.com/story/26879694/uss-north-dakota-commissioning-preview [this story includes footage from the November 2, 2013, christening]
KFYR TV had several stories:
Both television stations have more stories on their web sites at http://www.kfyrtv.com/ and http://www.kxnet.com/. Just search for USS NORTH DAKOTA.
Gov. Jack and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple will attend the commissioning ceremony for the USS North Dakota (SSN-784), a ceremony that officially places the nuclear-powered attack submarine in active service with America’s military forces. The Governor will speak at the event, which will be held Saturday, October 25 in Groton, Conn.
“As we prepare to celebrate our state’s 125th birthday, the commissioning of this majestic submarine is a special gift to the people of North Dakota,” said Gov. Dalrymple. “The USS North Dakota is destined to be a definitive force in the U.S. Navy and we are proud that when she does, she will do so bearing the name, spirit and heritage of the great state of North Dakota.”
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 is the first in a new series of the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class nuclear submarines and includes cutting-edge technologies, sophisticated equipment and stealth capabilities. The ship is 377 feet long, weighs 7,800 tons and will operate for 33 years without a need to refuel. Construction on the USS North Dakota began in March 2009. The $2.6 billion vessel is the second Navy warship to carry the name North Dakota.
The commissioning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. CDT on October 25 and will be streamed live online at www.navy.mil. The ceremony will also be broadcast live on local television stations across the state.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 people are expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony, including 450 to 500 people with ties to North Dakota.
North Dakota residents unable to attend USS North Dakota (SSN-784) commissioning ceremonies this Saturday (25 October 2014) in Groton, CT will be able to watch the proceedings live on local television and internet, according to USS North Dakota Committee Chairman Bob Wefald of Bismarck.
The ceremony at the US Naval Base in Groton, Connecticut, begins at 10:00 a.m. CDT (9:00 a.m. MDT). Wefald noted the entire ceremony can be viewed on a PC, laptop, iPhone, iPad or similar device connected to the Internet at www.navy.mil, the official U.S. Navy website.
Wefald reported the ceremony will also be carried live on local television stations KFYR-TV Bismarck, KMOT-Minot, KUMV-Williston and KQCD-Dickinson. Coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. CDT to its conclusion. Tom Gerhardt says the KX Network will also carry the entire ceremony.
“This is a great opportunity for those who cannot be with us in Groton for this historic moment in North Dakota’s history,” Wefald noted, adding, “it’s going to be a great Navy day!”
The fourth and final coin in our USS NORTH DAKOTA coin series is now available for purchase. The silver coin in a clear plastic coin holder and in a presentation box is $100 and the verbronze coin is $20.
Here are all four coins shown in order. The 1st coin has the crest of the first USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29). The 2nd coin has the crest of our new boat, the second USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784). The 3rd coin has the image of Katie Fowler, our Ship’s Sponsor. The 4th and FINAL coin has the Commissioning Pennant and our October 25th commissioning date. The 5th coin below is actually just to show the reverse side of all four coins which is the profile of our boat against the flag of the great State of North Dakota.
You can order coins on line at the upper right hand corner of this blog. You can order coins by emailing:
You can also stop by the:
Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce
1640 Burnt Boat Drive
PO Box 1675
Bismarck, ND 58502-1675
Or you can call :
After the October 25th commissioning we will take orders for a set of four verbronze coins in plastic holders and a presentation case which will make for a very nice Christmas gift! We have not yet priced this gift set.
I know everyone is getting excited about our USS NORTH DAKOTA commissioning weekend, but I’m sorry I don’t really have enough time to reply individually to each one of you. Here is what you need to know for the commissioning day which is Saturday, October 25th.
You MUST have your ticket and identification to get into the ceremony!!
The commissioning starts promptly at 11:00 a.m. so please get there in plenty of time to be seated.
The ceremony will go on as scheduled rain or shine regardless of the weather, so please be prepared.
Immediately following the ceremony our USS North Dakota Commissioning Committee will host Dunkin Donuts coffee and donuts served from a tent at the head of the pier. Everyone is invited. Stop by and pick up a donut and a cup of coffee. Buses will also start leaving for the Mystic Marriott Hotel and to the parking lot.
I understand the boat will be available after the ceremony for quick tours.
At 1:00 p.m. in the foyer outside the large Marriott Ballroom in the Mystic Marriott Hotel, a cash bar will be available and butler passed hor d’oeuvres will be served. At 1:30 p.m. the doors to the ballroom will be opened for all North Dakotans and “want to be” North Dakotans to join us for lunch at various serving stations at our North Dakota Contingent party. There will be very few tables, several of which will be reserved, and mainly there will be lots of standing tables. We will start an informal program at 2:00 p.m. with a few songs from the Bismarck Mandan Elks Chorus and we will give our Governor Jack Dalrymple, Senator John Hoeven, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, and Representative Kevin Cramer an opportunity to share their excitement on this great day for North Dakota. Things should wrap up by 3:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. although feel free to stick around to share and enjoy the wonder of this Great Navy Day!!
O.K., that’s it. I’ll see you there!
O.K. I was wrong about next week as I just received my tickets today so your tickets should be in the mail to you if you have not yet already received them. Remember to get on to the Naval Base and into the ceremony you will need your ticket and your identification.
Some of you who received invitations and who returned the postcard to state you will be at the commissioning have wondered why you do not yet have tickets. Those tickets will be sent to you next week when the Commissioning Support Team completes its work on the commissioning of USS AMERICA this Saturday, October 11th in San Francisco. Don’t panic – you will get your tickets IF you mailed back the postcard to indicate you are attending our commissioning on October 25th.
If you did not get the initial invitation and you signed up for an invitation please email me at bobwefald@msn,com.