On Wednesday, October 10th, Lieutenant Commander Kris Lancaster and Machinist Mate Master Chief Jim Lucky arrived in Grand Forks for a visit to thier boat’s namesake state.  Kris is going to take over as Executive Officer in march and Jim is the Engineering department Master Chief.  I kept them busy until they flew home on Sunday morninig, October 14th.  They were great visitors and they were well received everywhere, but more importantly they did a great job of letting people know about our USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784).  Prior to their visit Chuck Haga of the Grand Forks Herald wrote a great story which was picked up by several other North Dakota papers.

On Thursday LCDR Lancaster and MMCM Lucky appeared at a morning meeting of the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, and at noon they gave a slide presentation on the current status of NORTH DAKOTA and answered questions from the media.  We got coverage from three TV stations:

Thursday afternoon they had a live on air interview with Brian Michaels of KNOW Radio.  We thought Master Chief Lucky looked great in the pink head phones.

On Friday we drove to Fargo for a live on air interview with Joel Heitkamp of News and Views on KFGO, KCJB and KFYR.  That was followed by a lunch arranged by Dave Johnston with a small group of Navy League members.  At 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon they had a live on air interview with Doug Hamilton on Hear It Now on statewide Prairie Public Radio.  We drove back to Grand Forks where Susan met us with my convertible for the parade on Saturday morning.  But that evening LCDR Lancaster and MMCM Lucky attended the University of North Dakota hockey game where at the first whistle stopping play they appeared on the arena TV introducing themselves and ending with a rousing cry of “Let’s Play Hockey!!”  Several images of NORTH DAKOTA were also projected on the screens.  Here are photos of them getting ready for their annoucement and enjoying the game with Duane Preabt, the father of ETCM Tim Preabt, the Chief of the Boat (COB).

Saturday morning they rode in my convertible with Susan and me for UND’s Homecoming parade.

We all attended UND’s Homecoming football game in the Alerus Center where Kris and Jim brought a silver “Katie Coin” out on to the field to use in the coin toss to start the game.

Once the game was underway we all joined UND President Kelley and his wife Marcia to watch the game.  Kris and Jim gave President Kelley the silver coin for UND’s collection, and then watched the game with Duane Preabt.

It was truly a great and productive visit!  Kris and Jim are the 6th and 7th members of NORTH DAKOTA’s crew to visit North Dakota.  We will have more crew members visit North Dakota, not just now, but throughout its 33 years of commissioned service.  We love our boat and we love our crew!


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