The undersea warriors of the new fast attack nuclear powered submarine USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) on Friday, August 24th, launched their new ship’s crest.  They did an outstanding job of incorporating images into their crest capturing both their warrior spirit and the state of North Dakota as their boat’s namesake.  The crew did a good job of picking up many of the themes in the more than 100 crest designs submitted by people of all ages from all across North Dakota.  Our USS North Dakota Committee submitted to the crew our top five choices as well as all of the more than 100 crest design submitted.  Here is their new crest and my understanding of the symbols in this well designed ship’s crest.

The crest is in the shape of an arrowhead symbolizing NORTH DAKOTA as a hunter while embracing North Dakota’s rich history of its Native American warriors and hunters on its wide open plains.  The main feature of this crest is NORTH DAKOTA silently hunting in the ocean depths while above it cruising the ocean under a beautiful evening sky is the first USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29) which served from 1910 until 1923.  In the night sky is the constellation Orion – the hunter – emblematic NORTH DAKOTA as a hunter.  On both sides the night sky blends into the image of the heads of the wild horses freely roaming the North Dakota Badlands in  Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The banner at the top of the crest proclaims this boat as USS NORTH DAKOTA.  The stars on either side symbolize the first NORTH DAKOTA and the second NORTH DAKOTA.  On both sides of the crest are the heads of sheaves of wheat in recognition of North Dakota’s agricultural bounty.  On the left side of the crest is the motto from our state’s coat of arms – Strength From the Soil.  On the right side of the crest is the crew’s motto – Reapers Of The Deep – which symbolizes NORTH DAKOTA as an undersea hunter, but which also ties in with the reaping and harvesting of North Dakota’s bountiful small grain corps.  Right below NORTH DAKOTA are gold and silver crossed six shooters on the top of both barrels are the dolphins so proudly worn by qualified submarine sailors.  The gold represents the boat’s officers and the silver represents the boat’s enlisted men.  The six shooters are not only emblematic of NORTH DAKOTA always being ready to defend us, but they also nicely represent NORTH DAKOTA as the first VIRGINIA Class submarine equipped with two cylinders of six missiles each to reach out to distant land and surface targets.  Below the six shooters is NORTH DAKOTA’s hull number SSN 784 with crossed tomahawks in the middle, again symbolizing NORTH DAKOTA as being ready to fight, but also honoring our Native American warriors and hunters.  The crossed tomahawks also nicely allude to the 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles NORTH DAKOTA can carry.  On the grips of the six shooters are words identifying Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders picking up on North Dakota as the place where Teddy Roosevelt hunted in North Dakota’s Badlands and revitalized his health, as he said, “I never would have been president if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.”

Also attached is the boat’s excellent description of the symbols in the crest.

Explanation of the USS NORTH DAKOTA Crest

We had a wonderful ceremony in the Great Hall of the capitol this morning with excellent remarks from Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley who unveiled the crest, which was well received.  Attached are photos of this morning’s event.

Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley makes remarks.

Drew Wrigley and Bob Wefald unveil the crest.

L to R: USS North Dakota Committee Vice Chair Bill Butcher, Bismarck – Mandan Chamber of Commerce Kelvin Hulett, Adjutant General Dave Sprycznynatyk, Bob Wefald, First Lady Betsy Dalrymple, Drew Wrigley and Scott Davis of the Indian Affairs Commission.


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