While I was on vacation in Glacier National Park we received this photo showing the bow section/super module under construction at the Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport New VA. This is the supermodule that makes NORTH DAKOTA unique as the first of the Block III VIRGINA Class submarines. The sail has landed on the bow supermodule, but one unique Block III feature clearly visible are the two hatches for the two six cruise missile launch tubes. The first ten VIRGINA Class submarines all have twelve individual cruise missile launch tubes lined up two abreast on the bow.
I talked with NORTH DAKOTA’s Executive Officer Lieuntenant Commander Jeremiah Minner who had been standing the mid-watch in the two supermodules forming the after half of the boat containing the engineering spaces. He said the engineers have been standing watch 24/7 to learn the systems and to make sure they are fully trained on NORTH DAKOTA’s systems. With two supermodules for the after part of the boat in place and assembled at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton CT and the bow supermodule under construction in Newport News VA, that only leaves one remaining supermodule under construction in Quonset Point RI. That’s the one we saw at the keel laying ceremony in which Katie Fowler, the sponsor of our boat, had her initials welded into the boat. Here’s a photo of that section all dressed up for the event:
This weekend we had our first full rainy day in Bismarck since last year, and it was great with 1.9 inches of rain in Susan’s rain guage. I loved driving across the wide open spaces of Montana, and I loved hiking several trails. Here’s a photo of me on the trail to Grinell Glacier.
I’ll keep this blog as current as possible whenever I learn about new events with NORTH DAKOTA.