In July of 2008, Donald Winter, US Secretary of the Navy, honored North Dakota by naming a Virginia-Class Nuclear Submarine after our great state. The naming of a submarine took effort from not just around the state, but around the globe.
Eighty-five years after the decommissioned the first USS ND, and twenty years after an annual letter writing campaign by Judge Robert Wefald, another USS ND is scheduled to sail the seas.
In 2008, Judge Wefald, the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber, the congressional delegation, and a group of other individuals, including Admiral Bill Owen and Vice-Admiral Jeffery Fowler began work on a campaign to “Float the Boat.”
Over the next few months a statewide coloring contest, a letter writing campaign, and a submarine sandwich contest took place. This along with a superb PR plan presented to Secretary Winter paid off and in 2014 the second USS ND is scheduled to be commissioned.
The Virginia-class nuclear Submarine (SSN 784) will be built in Connecticut by the General Dynamic. It is the first in a new series of Virginia class submarines, which will implement new technologies making it more efficient and able to upgrade throughout its 30-year life.
Over the course of the next 33 years, North Dakota will have the opportunity to support our namesake through a variety of avenues, as she supports the state in return.