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YOU CAN VIEW THE COMMISSIONING LIVE

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!”

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COMMISSIONING COIN NOW AVAILABLE

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.

AAA Commissioning coin

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.

AAA All four silver coins

You can order coins on line at the upper right hand corner of this blog. You can order coins by emailing:

info@bismarckmandan.com

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 :

701.223.5660

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.


ONE MORE TIME

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!


YOUR TICKETS ARE IN THE MAIL

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.


YOUR TICKETS WILL BE MAILED TO YOU

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.


HISTORY, INVITATIONS & TICKETS, EVENTS

The commissioning of a U.S. Navy warship is a ceremony filled with tradition. It is a moment when our Navy brings a ship and its crew into active service in the fleet following in the wakes of thousands of other US Navy warships that have proudly served and protected our country since the Revolution.  The October 25th 2014 commissioning ceremony for our boat USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) will bring into the United States Navy the most modern and most capable submarine in the world!

The Navy is completely in charge of everything that takes place during the actual commissioning ceremony. We North Dakotans are proud and honored that our Navy chose to name this very impressive submarine after our state.  We have been given the great honor of handling all of the other non-ceremonial events for NORTH DAKOTA’s commissioning weekend.

Invitations have been mailed and we hope you have filled out and returned the enclosed postcard IF you are planning to attend the commissioning.  When you mail the reply card you will then be mailed your actual ticket to the commissioning ceremony.  No one will be admitted without a ticket and identification.

Here are the events we know of for the commissioning weekend:

It is our understanding that on Thursday and Friday afternoons, October 23rd and 24th, Captain Doug Gordon and his crew are going to try to give as many North Dakotans as possible tours of our boat.  This, of course, depends on the needs of the Navy.  The tours will start from the USS NAUTILUS Museum next to the Main Gate of the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT.  We will provide more details as they become available.  Ladies, wear slacks and comfortable shoes for the tour as you will be climbing down into and out of the boat.

On that Friday our USS NORTH DAKOTA Commissioning Committee will host the Sponsor’s Luncheon at the Marriott Hotel at 12:00 noon. This luncheon follows a long-standing tradition of the soon-to-be commissioned warship’s commander honoring the sponsor with a luncheon in the ship’s wardroom.  As this is a very small, invitation only event, it will be hosted by our committee at the Mystic Marriott Hotel.

On Friday afternoon, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., our USS North Dakota Committee Vice Chairman Bill Butcher will be in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel with information about restaurants in the area. Also in the lobby at that time there will be members of the North Dakota Council of the Navy League of the United States handing out free USS NORTH DAKOTA commissioning buttons.  Be sure to pick one up and wear it with pride!

The Chairman’s Dinner on Friday evening at the Mystic Marriott Hotel is for invited guests and will start with a social at a cash bar in the foyer adjacent to the Mystic Ballroom at 6:00 p.m.  Doors to the banquet room open at 6:30 p.m. so the guests can take their assigned seats in this room where we can host a maximum of 300 invited guests.

After you have breakfast on Saturday morning, October 25th, you can take buses from in front of the Mystic Marriott Hotel directly to the pier where the ceremony is being held.  The buses will start running after 9:00 a.m.  Every bus will have a trusted agent to assure access to the ceremony.  Of course, the buses will also bring you back to the hotel. You MUST have your ticket and identification to get on the bus.  If you instead choose to drive yourself, there will be parking on the base and there will be shuttle buses with trusted agents from the parking lot to the pier – be sure to follow the directions given in your ticket packet.  Whichever transportation you use, please be sure to have your tickets and a form of identification.

At 9:00 a.m. Saturday at the Mystic Marriott Hotel, there will be a brunch hosted by our USS NORTH DAKOTA Committee for the invited guests and the platform guests. At this brunch, the Commissioning Support Team will have a chance to organize the Navy and political VIPs, and to transport them to the ceremony.  The platform guests will be the last group assembled and transported to the pier to allow the ceremony to begin promptly at 11:00 a.m.  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.

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!!

Saturday evening at the Foxwood Casino Hotel, the crew of USS NORTH DAKOTA and their families and guests will enjoy a buffet dinner hosted by our USS North Dakota Commissioning Committee.

If you have any problems or concerns you can contact me, Bob Wefald, Chairman of our USS North Dakota Committee at bobwefald@msn.com or 701-595-2401.  Everyone please enjoy this great weekend for our state and for our boat!  Be sure to pick up and wear USS NORTH DAKOTA commissioning button sponsored by the North Dakota Council of the Navy League of the United States.  Navy League members will be stationed in the Marriott Hotel lobby to greet you and hand you a button.


ANOTHER STORY ABOUT USS NORTH DAKOTA

This story appeared in this morning’s edition of the Undersea Warfare News.

First Block III Virginia-class Submarine Delivered North Dakota (SSN 784), Delivered Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget

Chuck Oldham, Defense Media Network, Sep 16

North Dakota Bravo trials PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class. U.S. Navy photo

General Dynamics Electric Boat delivered North Dakota (SSN 784) the first of the Block III Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines to the U.S. Navy last month, and the boat is on track to be commissioned Oct. 25 in Groton. The North Dakota‘s original May commissioning date was postponed due to quality issues with third party vendor-assembled and delivered components. These issues were serious enough to require an unplanned dry-docking to correct. Additional design certification work was also needed on the submarine’s redesigned bow.

Despite this, North Dakota was delivered on time and more than $30 million below target cost, according to a General Dynamics Electric Boat news release. The submarine was delivered two days before contract requirement, and had completed Alpha, Bravo, and INSURV trials six days previous, according to a NAVSEA PEO Submarines release.

This redesign replaces a sonar sphere with a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) Array and earlier Virginia-class boats’ 12 individual vertical-launch missile tubes with two Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), which will each initially carry six missiles in multiple all-up round canisters.

“North Dakota delivered ahead of schedule and under budget,” said Capt. David Goggins, Virginia Class program manager. “When one considers the scope of design changes, this represents a tremendous achievement.

“Now that certifications are complete, and we’re armed with lessons learned,we can move forward knowing that we are providing our fleet with the most capable, and battle-ready submarine possible,” said Goggins.

North Dakota is the 11th boat of the Virginia class, and is also the first of the eight-ship group of Block III Virginia-class submarines. The Block III boats reflect a Navy and industry commitment to reduce costs without decreasing capabilities through an initiative comprising a multi-year procurement strategy, improvements in construction practices and the Design For Affordability (DFA) program.

The DFA program focuses primarily on the redesign of the submarine’s bow, lowering program costs by $800 million, increasing capability and providing the capacity for additional growth at no additional cost. This redesign replaces a sonar sphere with a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) Array and earlier Virginia-class boats’ 12 individual vertical-launch missile tubes with two Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), which will each initially carry six missiles in multiple all-up round canisters.

The new LAB Array eliminates hundreds of hull penetrations and replaces tranducers with lower cost, life-of-the-ship hydrophones. By nearly doubling the payload space available from 1,200 cubic feet with the 12 vertical launch tubes to 2,300 cubic feet, the VPTs will enable Virginia-class ships to deploy a wider variety of payloads.

Seven additional Block III submarines are under construction, while the 10 ships of the recently awarded Block IV contract will continue the two-per-year construction pace through 2018.

“The full range of Block III improvements were successfully tested during North Dakota‘s sea trials,” said Kurt Hesch, vice president and Virginia program manager, noting that the submarine received the highest quality score to date from the Navy Board of Inspection and Survey.

“This is an important accomplishment that reflects the skill and commitment of everyone involved in the Virginia-class submarine program. Maintaining this level of performance helps the Navy attain its shipbuilding goals and ensures our continuing success as a business.”

Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding have delivered 11 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) USS Minnesota (SSN 783) and North Dakota. Seven additional Block III submarines are under construction, while the 10 ships of the recently awarded Block IV contract will continue the two-per-year construction pace through 2018.


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