Author Archives: bobwefald


Here is the news release our USS North Dakota Committee issued this afternoon:
USSND Committee news release 4.16.2014



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Here is a letter our USS North Dakota Committee received this afternoon from Rear Admiral D.C. Johnson, the Program Executive Officer for Submarines.  We appreciate the Navy reaching out to all of us who are interested in the commissioning of the second US Navy warship named for our great State of North Dakota.

PEO Letter to 784 Commissioning Committee


The Navy announced this afternoon that the May 31st scheduled commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) has been postponed.  A new commissioning date has not yet been set.  Until it is commissioned our boat is officially known as PCU - Pre Commissioning Unit - and it will not officially be known as USS – United State Ship – until it is commissioned.  The Navy news release reads as follows:

WASHINGTON – The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) commissioning will be postponed, the Navy announced, April 16.


This decision is based on the need for additional design and certification work required on the submarine’s redesigned bow and material issues with vendor-assembled and delivered components. As the Navy works with all vested parties to certify the quality and safety of the submarine and toward taking delivery of the boat, it will determine a new commissioning date. The Navy is committed to ensuring the safety of its crews and ships. High quality standards for submarine components are an important part of the overall effort to ensure safety.


The lessons learned from North Dakota are already being applied to all Block III submarines.


Team Submarine oversees the submarine force’s research, development, acquisition, maintenance and life cycle support.




For more information, contact:

Colleen E. O’Rourke

Naval Sea Systems Command

Office of Corporate Communications






Satrom Travel (701-258-5000), the company that has arranged several tours for the commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA on May 31st in Groton CT, has requested that we make you aware of these two options.

USS North Dakota Commissioning 2014_LAND ONLY

USS North Dakota Commissioning 2014_HOTEL ONLY

Hotel Rooms Available at the Foxwoods

  • The USS North Dakota has a block of rooms available at the Foxwoods Resort Casino for those who wish to make their own hotel reservations. Call 1-800-369-9663 or visit


Rear Admiral Richard “Rick” Breckenridge did an outstanding job of promoting our USS NORTH DAKOTA as he explained her capabilities and how she will serve in the Navy’s submarine fleet. We kept him busy for three days. On Monday, March 17th, he was in Fargo speaking at a breakfast of veterans and Navy League members followed by a 9:00 a.m. interview on The Joel Heitkamp on KFGO 790 AM. After a meeting with the Forum Editorial Board he spoke at a luncheon at the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. A post lunch interview with WDAY TV was followed by a 20 minute live on air interview of Prairie Public Broadcasting’s state-wide broadcast of “Main Street.”

Here is an article in the Forum on Tuesday morning:
Admiral Forum

On Tuesday in Bismarck he attended the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast followed by a meeting with the Bismarck Tribune Editorial Board and on air interview with Scott Hennen on “What’s On Your Mind.” Before his noon speech at the Kiwanis Club he was interviewed by KXMB TV News and KFYR TV News. In the afternoon he spoke to the Bismarck Mandan Chamber’s Employer’s Roundtable. That evening he spoke to the Annual Meeting of the North Dakota Council of the Navy League of the United States. here are links to the TV interviews:



(KFYR TV has not yet posted its video)

Admiral Breckenridge speaking to the Kiwanis Club:


Admiral Breckenridge with Navy League members L to R Bob Martinson, Bob Koeller, Chuck Miska and Eugene O’Neil:


Here is an article in this Morning’s Bismarck Tribune:

Admiral BisTrib

Before Admiral Breckenridge left Bismarck to return to Washington DC he was interviewed by Phil Parker on PMS In The Morning on KFYR 550 AM Radio, a highlight of which is that we sang on air as a duet “Anchors Aweigh.” He toured the new addition to the State Historical Society Museum and met with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Secretary of State Al Jaeger. His visit to North Dakota concluded with remarks to the Rotary Club.


I’ve gone over the names and contribution levels of our Contributors.  I’ve caught most of my mistakes or failures to list our contributors, but I would like for you to check how I have your name listed and email me at if you want  something different.  I will have to submit this list for printing fairly soon.

Please remember that making a contribution does NOT automatically put you on the list to receive an invitation.  If you want an invitation and you have not signed up on the right hand side of this blog for an invitation, please do so NOW!


USS NORTH DAKOTA’s commissioning date of May 31st is swiftly approaching. Because we have a lot to do between now and then we have to set up an automatic cut off date after which no one can sign up for an invitation. That date is March 15th. It will be automatic so after March 15th it will be too late.


Tours from North Dakota to the May 31st commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) have been set and are now available for booking through Satrom Travel – 800-833-8787 or 701-258-5000. There will be one tour in and out of Boston from May 29th through June 2nd. There will be a second tour in and out of New York City from May 28th through June 2nd. Here are photo images of the itinerary and registration form for each trip. The trip through New York City is for the Bismarck Mandan Elks Chorus, but it is open to the public.

Boston tour forms:
USSND Boston tour 1

USSND Boston tour 2

New York City tour forms:

USSND NYC Elks tour 1

USSND NYC Elks tour 2

The May 30th tour of USS NORTH DAKOTA depends on the needs of the Navy.  Satrom Travel will be happy to mail or email you the forms for the tour you want if you cannot download and print the forms for the tour you would like.

For those of you who have signed up for invitations, the initial invitation will be mailed to you about six weeks ahead of the May 31st date.  Those who respond will receive tickets to the commissioning and other events as applicable.


Things are moving quickly as the May 31st commissioning date for our own USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) gets closer every day!  The contractor still has some work to do on the boat before they head out for sea trials.  In the mean time our USS North Dakota Committee is in full fund-raising mode as we raise all of the funds necessary to host a memorable and noteworthy commissioning weekend for the second ship to proudly carry the name of our great state of North Dakota.

This is a historic, proud and patriotic event for the people of North Dakota, both those here and all of those North Dakotans who have journeyed to live and work in other states and countries while always carrying a piece of North Dakota in their hearts, and for all those people who really wish they were North Dakotans.

We say “historic” because when she is commissioned on May 31st it will have been 91 years since a U.S. Navy ship has carried the name NORTH DAKOTA and 104 years since the first and last USS NORTH DAKOTA was commissioned in 1910.

We are proud the Navy chose our state for the great honor of having this mighty warship carry our name throughout the oceans and seas of the world for the next 33 years.  She will honor us through her service by bringing the name of North Dakota to ports all over the world!

With great patriotism we support OUR boat as a vital component of our nation’s armed forces.  We North Dakotans support our troops and our military.  NORTH DAKOTA and her crew will always be in our prayers as we wish her well as she in turn protects us and our country!

You can be part of this historic event by donating to her commissioning events and by attending the ceremony of watching it on a live feed from Groton CT.  All donations of $100 or more will be recognized in the USS NORTH DAKOTA commissioning book.  An easy way to contribute is to simply write a check payable to BMCF-USSND and mail it to: USSND, PO Box 1675, Bismarck ND 58502-1675.  You can also donate on-line.  On the top right side of this blog you can click on the DONATE button and follow the prompts.  You can also help by encouraging others to donate as well as clubs, veterans organizations, etc.  Everyone can and should help.  We are working through the Bismarck Mandan Chamber Foundation (BMCF) which is a 501(c)(3) entity so all USSND donations are tax-deductible as charitable donations.

Here is a link that is currently that allows you to see VIRGINIA Class submarines in action:!topic/v8sho/vz6QLcbQFEg


I now have had a chance to go over lots of photos from the christening of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) on Saturday, November 2nd. All of the photos are from General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and are used by permission. They are all copyrighted by GDEB. I do have an excellent high-speed slide show of NORTH DAKOTA’s “Float Off” on the weekend of September 13th, 14th and 15th. As soon as I can figure out how to post it I will do so as I know you will want to view it. O.K. here are some of the photos not in any rigid order.

Captain Gordon leads his crew on to their boat

405_Ceremony R

Ship’s Sponsor Katie Fowler and her daughters with Captain Gordon and his crew

043_784 Crew_Sponsor R

Captain Gordon and his officers

068_784 Crew_Sponsor R

The Chief Petty officers – the guys who really run the Navy!

066_784 Crew_Sponsor R

Captain Doug and Christine Gordon smiling proudly on this great day!

373_Ceremony R

Master Chief Petty Tim Preabt – the Chief of the Boat COB.  The only North Dakotan in the crew.

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Katie Fowler breaking the traditional bottle of champagne to christen SSN-784 as NORTH DAKOTA!

592_Bottle Break R

General Dynamics Electric Boat President Kevin Poitras with Ship’s Sponsor Katie Fowler, on his last day on the job as he was retiring with NORTH DAKOTA as his last boat.


Speaker of the House Representative Bill Devlin and his wife Margie

344_Ceremony R

Senator Stan Lyson and Senator Bill Bowman

345_Ceremony R

Senator Tim Flakoll

377_Ceremony R

Mikey and Senator John Hoeven, First Lady Betsy and Governor Jack Dalrymple, Senator Heidi Heitkamp

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A small part of our North Dakota contingent.  L to R: Connie and Dave Sprynczynatyk, Bill Bowman, John and Mikey Hoeven, Betsy and Jack Dalrymple, Heidi Heitkamp, Stan Lyson, Susan Wefald, Tim Flakoll, Carol Kapsner, Margie Devlin, John Kapsner, Bill Devlin, Kathy and Al Jaeger

489_Ceremony R

Retired Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Bill Owens (BHS 1959), and retired Captain Bob Wefald, Chairman of the USS North Dakota Committee.

499_Ceremony R

Clem and Arlys Fowler, retired Vice Admiral Jeff Fowler’s (BHS 1974) parents and Ship’s Sponsor Katie Fowler

093_Breakfast R

Mike Nowak, the Manager of the construction of USS NORTH DAKOTA.  He and his workers did a great job!

793_Gifts R

Senator John Hoeven, Captain Doug Gordon, Governor Jack Dalrymple, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Admiral Bill Owens

0986_Reception R

Many of the members of the North Dakota contingent

1009_Reception R


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