On the weekend of April 12th – 13th the sponsor of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) Katie Fowler and her husband Vice Admiral Jeff Fowler USN (Ret) were in Groton CT for the Submarine Birthday Ball that Saturday evening. Here is a photo of Katie and Commander Gordon, NORTH DAKOTA’s Commanding Officer and his wife Christine. They enjoyed spending time at the ball with NORTH DAKOTA’s crew.
Jeff reported that they had a wonderful tour of NORTH DAKOTA that Saturday morning. The CO, XO, and acting COB were joined by the ship’s manager—Mike Nowak, Bob Hamilton, a photographer and a couple of other shipyard personnel for a Saturday morning rendezvous. They really appreciated all of them coming in on a Saturday morning. Jeff says the boat looks good, and Katie says it’s 85% complete. With GDEB’s (General Dynamics Electric Boat) current construction schedule Jeff reports it looks like NORTH DAKOTA will still be in the enormous construction hangar until late August, but he says it is intact and looks like a submarine, not parts of a submarine. Inside the boat the control room, berthing areas, wardroom, crew’s mess, are starting to come together.
The christening date has not yet been set, but NORTH DAKOTA could be launched by the end of August or in early September. It appears that by delaying the christening date GDEB and the Navy will be able to get a lot of work accomplished which will speed up its construction cycle. With an eye on the completion of NORTH DAKOTA and some testing it look like a christening date will be set to flow in nicely with the remaining work without dramatically interfering with the completion schedule.
We will let you know the christening date as soon as we are told the date it will be held in Groton CT.