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!

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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.


btn_donateCC_LG[1]The USS NORTH DAKOTA is nearing her final and most festive milestone…the commissioning! As we prepare for this historic moment, we graciously ask for your support. The USS North Dakota Committee is responsible for hosting a variety of celebratory events connected to the commissioning. In addition for planning and prep work, our committee is responsible for covering the costs.

Please consider lending your financial support to ensure we have the best celebration for the best boat soon to sail the seas.

  • Mate ………….. $100+
  • Chief ………….. $500+
  • Captain ………. $1,000+
  • Admiral ………. $5,000+

All contributions of $100 or more will be recognized in the commissioning program. 100 percent of your gift is tax deductible and will support the commissioning events. We welcome you to be apart of history by attending the commissioning on May 31, 2014 in Groton Connecticut and by contributing to the commissioning events. Click on each link for more information.


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

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

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Captain Gordon and his officers

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

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

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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!

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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

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Senator Stan Lyson and Senator Bill Bowman

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Senator Tim Flakoll

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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

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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.

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

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

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

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Many of the members of the North Dakota contingent

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The christening of USS NORTH DAKOTA last Saturday, November 2nd, was a special moment for all of us who have worked to get a second ship named for our state.  There was a crowd of more than 4,000 lining both sides of the dock in which NORTH DAKOTA has been floating since 12:00 noon on Sunday, September 15th.  There was lots of Red, White and Blue bunting with a Navy band playing while the ceremony was getting ready to get underway.  Our Commanding Officer Captain Doug Gordon and his crew in their Dress Blue uniforms marched out onto NORTH DAKOTA’s deck to stand and faced the speaker’s platform built across the boat and after the sail.  The sail had stairs going up to another platform where NORTH DAKOTA waited to be christened by Katie Fowler, the Ship’s Sponsor.

The day before christening had weather that was terrible.  It was raining on and off, it was overcast and cold, and the strong wind made all of the flags stand straight out.  It was nevertheless a great day for Doug Gordon as Vice Admiral Jeff Fowler, US. Navy (ret) did the honors of giving the oath of office to then Commander Gordon as he was promoted to the rank of Captain.  For you non-Navy people that’s equivalent to a full colonel in the other services.  I was very proud of him.

But on Saturday morning the day dawned clear and sunny with no wind!  Good weather always helps when you have an outdoor ceremony.  Speakers for the christening included Governor Jack Dalrymple, Senator John Hoeven and Senator Heidi Heitkamp.  They all did a terrific job!  Ship’s Sponsor Katie Fowler gave her wonderful remarks last before climbing the stairs to the platform behind the sail.  With a mighty swing she broke the champagne bottle and christened out boat NORTH DAKOTA!  At that moment a loud horn joined in the celebration.

It was a truly memorable event!  I think more than 150 North Dakotans, former North Dakotans and some North Dakotans “want to be’s” celebrated the christening of the second Navy ship named for our great State of North Dakota.  Included in our delegation was Secretary of State Al Jaeger and his wife Kathy, Supreme Court Justice Carol Kapsner and her husband John as well as Senator Bill Bowman, Representative Bill Devlin, Senator Tim Flakoll, Representative Ed Gruchalla, Representative Vernon Laning, Senator Stan Lyson, Representative Andy Maragos, and Senator John Warner.

When the official photos have been cleared by the Navy I will post them in a new blog posting.  In the mean time here are links to several articles in The Day, a daily newspaper serving the Groton CT area.  Be sure to click on all the photos with each article.

Some of you had problems watching the christening ceremony on your computer or cable access TV.  Here is the explanation received by Rich Dunn who could not get hooked in to watch it:

Here is the official word on the inability to view the Christening…

Mr. Dunn,

You have my sincere apology for your not being able to watch the christening of the USS North Dakota through access to our website. Our server was overwhelmed by the number of requests for access, and we did not have the bandwidth to support the requests. This is not meant as an excuse, as we might have anticipated this possibility and made other arrangements.

You can now watch the recorded video at the General Dynamics Electric Boat site:

Dakota Media Access will be replaying the recorded event at future dates after we obtain a copy from GDEB.

Again, we regret your experience, and those of your friends and family, with this event.


Phil Miller
Technology Director
Dakota Media Access
307 N 4th St
Bismarck, ND 58501–4020


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