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Our very sharp-eyed Vice Chairman Bill Butcher found these photos of USS NORTH DAKOTA during her successful sea trials.  She is a BEAUTIFUL boat!!






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If you previously signed up for an invitation to attend the commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA you do NOT have to sign up again.  This current extension until August 31st is just to add those people who did NOT sign up for an invitation before the postponed May 31st commissioning date.

The last day to sign up to request an invitation is DEFINITELY August 31st!!


I found this article in this morning’s issue of the Undersea Warfare News about the parts that caused the postponement of the original May 31st commissioning date.

North Dakota Attack Boat Investigation Complete 

Sam Grady, USNI, Aug 15

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has concluded an investigation into questionable third party components of its latest Virginia-class attack boat — North Dakota (SSN-784) — clearing the way for the submarine to commission in late October, NAVSEA told USNI News on Thursday.

“To date, all necessary inboard and outboard components have been inspected and all required repairs have been completed,” read a statement provided to USNI News.

NAVSEA inspected 58 components — mostly in the bow and stern sections — of the $2.6 billion attack boat and conducted an unspecified number of repairs, according to the statement.

“These components included stern planes and rudder rams, retractable bow plane cylinders, hydraulic accumulators, high pressure air charging manifolds, torpedo tube interlocks and shaft/link assemblies, weapons shipping and handling mechanisms, and other miscellaneous parts,” NAVSEA statement.

“The submarine was certified for sea trials and is tracking towards the Aug. 31 contractual delivery date.”

NAVSEA said other Block III Virginias would also be inspected. Neither the Navy nor Virginia-class prime contractor — General Dynamics Electric Boat —would identify the vendor to USNI News.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) — responsible for most construction of the bow and stern sections — referred comment on the program to NAVSEA and Electric Boat.

The commissioning delay and investigation are rare missteps in what is arguably the Navy’s best-run shipbuilding program in decades.

North Dakota is the first of the Block III boats. The revised design feature 40 percent of the bow retooled to accommodate a new water-backed Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array and the addition of two Multiple All Up Round Canisters that can each hold six Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM).

The redesign was led by Electric Boat and constructed by Newport News as part of the teaming agreement between the two yards for the Virginia-class construction.

Despite the delay, North Dakota will most likely still deliver ahead of its 66-month construction schedule.

The final Block II boat— USS Minnesota (SSN-783) — delivered 11 months early.

NAVSEA’s full Thursday statement to USNI News follows:

The commissioning of PCU NORTH DAKOTA (SSN 784) was postponed from May to address material issues with vendor-assembled and delivered components.

To date, all necessary inboard and outboard components have been inspected and all required repairs have been completed.

There were a total of 58 components investigated aboard PCU NORTH DAKOTA (SSN 784).

These components included stern planes and rudder rams, retractable bow plane cylinders, hydraulic accumulators, high pressure air charging manifolds, torpedo tube interlocks and shaft/link assemblies, weapons shipping and handling mechanisms, and other miscellaneous parts.

The submarine was certified for sea trials and is tracking towards the August 31 contractual delivery date. The commissioning is scheduled for October 25. All other Block III submarines are being inspected and any issues found will be adjudicated.


Classification: UNCLASSIFIED


Just wanted to report that the ship successfully completed both Alpha and Bravo Sea Trials.  We pulled in to the Shipyard around noon today [Wednesday, August 13th] from Bravo trials.  The crew performed very well during the underways.

We completed a very complex test agenda, stressing the ship to near its limits to ensure our systems operated as designed.  The material condition of the ship was great.  The crew was ecstatic to get underway for the first (and second) time.  It was great to see the crew excited about being underway and doing the things that they have trained so hard for over the last couple of years.  We still have a lot of work to do before the ship is delivered to the Navy around the end of the month.  I am very proud to be their Captain and can’t wait to go to sea again with my crew.




The Undersea Warfare News this morning brought us GREAT news!  USS NORTH DAKOTA completed her first trip to sea successfully completing her Alpha Sea Trials testing her propulsion and engineering, and she submerged for the first time.   Her commissioning is set for Saturday, October 25th at the naval base in Groton CT.  Here is the article from Seapower Magazine:


Submarine North Dakota Completes First Voyage

Seapower Magazine, 6 Aug 2014

GROTON, Conn. – The nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered attack submarine, North Dakota (SSN 784), returned to the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard Tuesday following the successful completion of its first voyage in open seas, called alpha sea trials, the company said in an Aug. 6 release. North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the most capable class of attack submarines ever built. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.

North Dakota’s alpha sea trials included a range of submarine and propulsion-plant operations, submerging for the first time, and high-speed runs on and below the surface to demonstrate that the ship’s propulsion plant is fully mission-capable.

The sea trials were directed by U.S. Navy ADM John M. Richardson, director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion. Also participating in the sea trials were VADM William H. Hilarides, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; RADM David C. Johnson, program executive officer for Submarines; RDML Kenneth Perry, commander, Submarine Group Two; CAPT Darlene Grasdock, supervisor of shipbuilding in Groton; and Jeffrey S. Geiger, president of Electric Boat. North Dakota is commanded by CAPT Douglas Gordon.

“The crew and shipbuilders worked together as one unit to take this submarine to sea and put it through its paces,” said Jeffrey Geiger, president of Electric Boat. “It was an outstanding effort by everyone involved, and demonstrates the commitment of the Navy and industry team to sustain the success of the Virginia-class submarine program. I appreciate the contributions made by the Navy personnel, shipbuilders and suppliers who made it happen.”

Electric Boat and its construction teammate, Newport News Shipbuilding, already have delivered 10 Virginia-class submarines to the Navy: USS Virginia (SSN 774), USS Texas (SSN 775), USS Hawaii (SSN 776), USS North Carolina (SSN 777), USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), USS New Mexico (SSN 779), USS Missouri (SSN 780), USS California (SSN 781), USS Mississippi (SSN 782) and USS Minnesota (SSN 783). Eight other submarines of the class are under construction.

In May, the U.S. Navy underscored its commitment to an advanced and adaptable submarine force by awarding Electric Boat a contract valued at $17.6 billion for the construction of 10 additional Virginia-class submarines.

Virginia-class submarines displace 7,800 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet and a diameter of 34 feet. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet, while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack missiles.


Our USS North Dakota Committee has been working with Satrom Travel (701-258-5000) to provide travel and hotel opportunities for the October 25th commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784).  Here are several links for your consideration.

This first one is for a tour through Hartford CT

USSND Commissioning_Hartford Package

This next one is for a tour through New York NY

USSND Commissioning Oct 25_LGA 6d5n NONELKS

This last link is for hotel rooms at the Marriott Hotel where our committee’s events are being held.

USSND Commissioning Oct HOTEL ONLY


Although the May 31st commissioning date for USS NORTH DAKOTA had to be postponed and is now reset for October 25, 2014, a group of people from New Town and elsewhere who had bought tickets and made plans decided to continue and go out to Groton, Connecticut, as originally planned.  Our USS North Dakota Committee hosted a luncheon for them and North Dakotan ETCM Tim Preabt, the Chief of the Boat, arranged a tour of USS NORTH DAKOTA for them.  Here is an article in the Minot Daily News about their trip with photos provided by Bill Wilber.

NEW TOWN – Twenty-six people with a northwest North Dakota group recently visited the Naval submarine base and toured the USS North Dakota submarine at Groton, Conn.  Initially, the group planned to attend the commissioning of the USS North Dakota on May 31 but the ceremony was postponed because of redesign work being done on the submarine.

The trip was sponsored by the New Town American Legion Post 290 and Byron Kulland Chapter 487 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.  William Wilber, a member of the New Town American Legion post, provided the following account of the trip:

All were up early Friday to be at the base and go through security check. The first event was attending Basic Enlisted Sub School graduation. All of the 60-plus graduates look so young and eager.  From there, we split into two groups and toured three sub school trainers. The “tank” is a 30-foot wide and 60-foot deep pool. There are three tubes or capsules in the tank for practice escaping from a submarine. The instructor explained that the trainee must do all steps correctly or there will be an “incident.” They have had accidents but no casualties. Another trainer is for all trainees and torpedomen. It had torpedoes and missiles and they train all to ready the tube to shoot a torpedo. The torpedomen get the full training as a specialty school. They showed us a cruise missile and launch tubes. Everyone had questions and the guides gave as much info as they could tell us. The last trainer was fire fighting. They train how to extinquish all classes of fires. Fire is the most dangerous emergencies on a submarine as it uses up the oxygen very quickly. There’s no 911 so the crew has to be able to put all of them out on their own.

After we had lunch in the sub base galley, we moved to the Submarine Force Museum and USS Nautilus. The group split again with half going to the USS North Dakota and the others getting a wonderful guided tour of the museum and Nautilus.  The tour of USS N.D. was awesome in the true sense of the word. No pictures allowed on Electric Boat Shipyard or the USS N.D. There was tight security check in again and down to the boat. It is in dry dock at this time so we got a view of the whole outside of the boat. What a wonderful machine.  The crew was all shined up and the boat was clean and new. We received a tour of the front part of the boat as there is just too much classified equipment in the back half. They couldn’t even tell us how many blades the screw (propeller) had. It was covered when we went on board. Tight quarters and good food on submarines but the food has to be stored in crevices where they find them.

Jerome Jarski, sergeant-at-arms for the New Town Legion post, said Gordon Blake, an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes and American Legion member, designed the patch for the jackets the Legion members had made for the trip. The patch has an eagle feather in the middle with “SSN 784″ printed below the eagle feather. A circle of 50 stars surround the eagle feather and “SSN 784.” The words, “Spirit Of The Fierce Fighting Warrior USS North Dakota” surround the outside of the 50 stars.  Jarski said an eagle feather was presented to the ship’s crew for the submarine. The ship’s leadership liked the patch so much that they would like to have patches for crewmembers to put on jackets.  Jarski said the local group is working on getting patches for them.

Some members of the Legion have discussed raising funds for the USS North Dakota crew to help with an emergency fund for the ship’s family needs.

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