Commander Michael P. Hollenbach, USN, the prospective Commanding Officer of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) made a namesake visit to North Dakota over memorial Day sponsored by the USS North Dakota Committee. He had a full schedule of activities meeting people and talking about his new boat which he will command following a Change of Command ceremony on July 23rd at the US Naval Base in Groton, Connecticut. It was a great chance for him to get to know North Dakota and to meet some North Dakotans, and for us to get to know him.
His Memorial Day in Bismarck started out with the “8:10 Phone Call” on the PMS Show on KFYR 550 AM Radio.
Commander Hollenbach met Bismarck’s mayor Mike Seminary as the Bismarck All Veterans organizations memorial Day observances were about to get underway at the Heritage Center.
Commander Hollenbach did a great job as the Memorial Day keynote speaker and his remarks were well received.
He also attended the Memorial day ceremony at the State Veterans Cemetery as well as a picnic that afternoon at Fort Lincoln State Park.
On Tuesday he had another busy day beginning with an interview with KXMB TV in the Heritage Center by the silver service from the 1st USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29).
Here is a link to that story: http://www.kxnet.com/story/29160293/uss-nd-has-new-commanding-officer
At noon he spoke to the Bismarck Kiwanis Club and answered lots of good questions.
At 3:00 p.m. from the Bismarck studio of Prairie Public Radio he was interviewed for about 12 minutes by Doug Hamilton, the host of “Main Street.” His last event was attending and speaking at the 2nd Quarter membership meeting of the North Dakota Council of the Navy League of the United States. He met up with Captain Duane Sand and his wife Holly with whom he had served as a junior officer on his 1st submarine tour on board USS FLORIDA (SSBN-728 – now SSGN). Captain Sand at the time was a Lieutenant Commander serving as Navigation Department Head.
Commander Hollenbach told of his excitement of being chosen to serve as NORTH DAKOTA’s second Commanding Officer and he answered questions.
Navy League North Dakota Council Bob Wefald, retired Public Service Commissioner Susan Wefald and east region Vice President Dave Johnston welcomed Commander Hollenbach to our Navy League meeting.
Commander Hollenbach made a great impression on those he met and spoke to, and he leaves the namesake of his boat with the close and strong ties which will be ensure a continuing great relationship between our boat and its namesake!