One of the first things then Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter did after naming NORTH DAKOTA was to designate Katie Fowler, the wife of Vice Admiral Jeff Fowler (Ret), as the sponsor of our boat. Katie has a very strong North Dakota connection through her husband Jeff who is a Bismarck High School graduate and whose parents continue to live in Bismarck. Over the years Katie has spent lots of time in North Dakota. As sponsor Katie will be involved in every milestone on NORTH DAKOTA’s way toward its active duty as the most advanced submarine in the Navy in 2014.
Most recently on May 11th, at the GDEB facility in Quonset Point RI, Katie was honored at NORTH DAKOTA’s keel laying ceremony. It was a terrific event and our proud USS North Dakota Committee was very impressed with the sight of huge section of various submarines under construction. One of the speakers was Senator John Hoeven, who as an experienced public speaker did a great job in expressing the pride the people of North Dakota have with this great honor for our state. The highlight of the ceremony was when Katie’s initials were welded onto a steel plate which will be welded into NORTH DAKOTA so she will be with our boat for its entire 33 years of expected service life.
In this photo Katie is seated with her family as the keel laying ceremony got underway. She is very pleased to have VADM Jeff as her “aide.” Here is a link I just discovered to a brief article and an excelelnt short video: