Then Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter made two outstanding decisions in 2008. The first was to name SSN-784 the NORTH DAKOTA. The second was to name Katie Fowler as the sponsor. Thereafter GDEB was fast at work in the early stages of building NORTH DAKOTA, and Katie and GDEB were all there was until the fall of 2011 when the crew started to come together.
Committee member Commander Duane Sand, USNR, a qualified sumarine officer, was the first to make contact with the newly assigned Chief of the Boat – COB – Master Chief Electronics Technician Tim Preabt. This is a wonderful choice for NORTH DAKOTA as Tim is a North Dakota native having been born in Minot, raised in Williston and graduated from Mandan High School. Here is a link is to an excellent article in the Williston Herald.
Master Chief Preabt was the first crew member to visit the submarine’s name sake state, being with us for a press conference and luncheon in Mandan in October 2011. A very impressive sailor, Tim did a great job answering questions and handling interviews. Tim’s visit to his home state took place on his way to report for duty with the NORTH DAKOTA precommissioining unit in Groton CT where NORTH DAKOTA is being built.
Master Chief Preabt’s visit kicked off our USS North Dakota Committee working emphasis for 2012, which is to get the word out all across North Dakota about this honor for our state to have a second US Navy ship named after it. We are bringing in crew mermbers and getting them to as many places in North Dakota as we can. We’ve already had the Commanding Officer, Commander Doug Gordon, visit Bismarck in January 2012, while the executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Jeremiah Minner, visited Fargo at the end of April and the first days of May 2012. I will blog more about them and their visits in other journal entries. And at the end of June Machinist Mate Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Noll and Chief Information Systems Technician Chief Petty Officer Jay Roberts will visit Dickinson, Medora and Bismarck.
I got this great image from the State Historical Society of a sailor from USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29) as I am going to be blogging about the first NORTH DAKOTA once in a while between my second NORTH DAKOTA journal entries, just to maintain a sense of history.