The christening of USS NORTH DAKOTA last Saturday, November 2nd, was a special moment for all of us who have worked to get a second ship named for our state.  There was a crowd of more than 4,000 lining both sides of the dock in which NORTH DAKOTA has been floating since 12:00 noon on Sunday, September 15th.  There was lots of Red, White and Blue bunting with a Navy band playing while the ceremony was getting ready to get underway.  Our Commanding Officer Captain Doug Gordon and his crew in their Dress Blue uniforms marched out onto NORTH DAKOTA’s deck to stand and faced the speaker’s platform built across the boat and after the sail.  The sail had stairs going up to another platform where NORTH DAKOTA waited to be christened by Katie Fowler, the Ship’s Sponsor.

The day before christening had weather that was terrible.  It was raining on and off, it was overcast and cold, and the strong wind made all of the flags stand straight out.  It was nevertheless a great day for Doug Gordon as Vice Admiral Jeff Fowler, US. Navy (ret) did the honors of giving the oath of office to then Commander Gordon as he was promoted to the rank of Captain.  For you non-Navy people that’s equivalent to a full colonel in the other services.  I was very proud of him.

But on Saturday morning the day dawned clear and sunny with no wind!  Good weather always helps when you have an outdoor ceremony.  Speakers for the christening included Governor Jack Dalrymple, Senator John Hoeven and Senator Heidi Heitkamp.  They all did a terrific job!  Ship’s Sponsor Katie Fowler gave her wonderful remarks last before climbing the stairs to the platform behind the sail.  With a mighty swing she broke the champagne bottle and christened out boat NORTH DAKOTA!  At that moment a loud horn joined in the celebration.

It was a truly memorable event!  I think more than 150 North Dakotans, former North Dakotans and some North Dakotans “want to be’s” celebrated the christening of the second Navy ship named for our great State of North Dakota.  Included in our delegation was Secretary of State Al Jaeger and his wife Kathy, Supreme Court Justice Carol Kapsner and her husband John as well as Senator Bill Bowman, Representative Bill Devlin, Senator Tim Flakoll, Representative Ed Gruchalla, Representative Vernon Laning, Senator Stan Lyson, Representative Andy Maragos, and Senator John Warner.

When the official photos have been cleared by the Navy I will post them in a new blog posting.  In the mean time here are links to several articles in The Day, a daily newspaper serving the Groton CT area.  Be sure to click on all the photos with each article.

Some of you had problems watching the christening ceremony on your computer or cable access TV.  Here is the explanation received by Rich Dunn who could not get hooked in to watch it:

Here is the official word on the inability to view the Christening…

Mr. Dunn,

You have my sincere apology for your not being able to watch the christening of the USS North Dakota through access to our website. Our server was overwhelmed by the number of requests for access, and we did not have the bandwidth to support the requests. This is not meant as an excuse, as we might have anticipated this possibility and made other arrangements.

You can now watch the recorded video at the General Dynamics Electric Boat site:

Dakota Media Access will be replaying the recorded event at future dates after we obtain a copy from GDEB.

Again, we regret your experience, and those of your friends and family, with this event.


Phil Miller
Technology Director
Dakota Media Access
307 N 4th St
Bismarck, ND 58501–4020


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