Someone has asked me who needs a 1st coin.  If you have one you would like to sell this person let me know.




Our USS North Dakota Committee is closing out all of the commemorative merchandise we had to build up to the commissioning of our boat USS NORTH DAKOTA (USS-784) last October 25, 2014.  The only merchandise we have left are commemorative coins.  As you know we ordered four different commemorative coins, quite a few in bronze and a limited number of each in Sterling silver.  This photo is of all four coins in bronze, with the 5th coin all by itself being the reverse side of all four coins.


The 1st coin has the crest of the 1st USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29).  The 2nd coin has the image of our beautiful Ship’s Sponsor, Katie Fowler.  The 3rd coin has the crest of the 2nd USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-74).  The 4th coin has the image of the Commissioning Pennant noting our boat’s commissioning date of October 25, 2014.  The reverse side of all four coins has the image of our boat with the North Dakota state flag in the background.  These coins originally sold for $20 each, but we are now selling sets of all four coins for $15.  We have 59 sets left.

On the Sterling coins we only have 35 of the 3rd coin and only 42 of the 4th coin left.  These originally sold for $100 each, but we are selling them at the close out price of $50 each. 

This a photo of the 3rd coin in Sterling silver:


This is a photo of the 4th coin in Sterling silver:


We sold quite a few coins in Dickinson on Tuesday, January 26th, at the Dickinson Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute.  This is photo of me, Bob Wefald, selling coins after the ASPI meeting:





The commanding Officer of USS NOTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) Commander Mike Hollenbach at a January 13th morning  meeting of the Executive Committee of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce presented Chamber President Kelvin Hulett with a ship’s plaque, a photo and a letter of thanks.  The presentation was made on behalf of Commander Hollenbach and his crew by USS North Dakota Committee Chairman Bob Wefald.   The occasion for the presentation was the departure of Hulett from his position with the Chamber to a new job at the Bank of North Dakota.  As President of the Chamber Hulett contributed significantly to the accomplishment of our goal of having a second ship named for the state of North Dakota, and of reaching diligently to assure very successful events surrounding the commissioning of our boat!

Kelvin accepts the ship’s plaque.


Reading the letter from Commander Hollenbach.


The iconic photo of NOTH DAKOTA coming out of the hangar after her final build.



Commander Mike Hollenbach, Commanding Officer of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) has announced that two members of his crew have not only been selected as Sailor of the Year and Junior Sailor of the Year for USS NORTH DAKOTA, but they have both also been selected as Sailor of the Year and Junior Sailor of the Year for Squadron FOUR, consisting of seven VIRGINIA Class submarines and two LOS ANGELES Class submarines.

Hollenbach told the USS North Dakota Committee, “I wanted to take a quick moment to pass along some fantastic news for the USS NORTH DAKOTA.” He said Petty Officer First Class David Evers, a Nuclear Machinist Mate, was chosen as NORTH DAKOTA Sailor of the Year and Petty Officer Second Class Robin Anderson, an Auxiliary Machinist Mate, and was chosen as NORTH DAKOTA Junior Sailor of the Year. Hollenbach added, ”But now for the really good news – Commander of Submarine Squadron FOUR chose both NORTH DAKOTA sailors as the as Sailor of the Year and Junior Sailor of the Year for the entire Submarine Squadron.” Both will also go on to the next round of competition for the entire Groton area.

MM1(SS) David W. Evers IV, from Virginia, enlisted in the Navy in March 2008. After completing various Navy schools including Nuclear Field Machinist Mate ‘A’ School, Nuclear Power School, and Nuclear Prototype Qualification, he held several assignments before reporting aboard NORTH DAKOTA in 2012. According to Hollenbach. “Evers expertly guided his division and the ship through reactor plant acceptance testing and builder’s sea trials, directly contributing to the ship’s receipt of the Squadron FOUR Red Engineering ‘E’.”

MM1 Evers, David

MM2(SS) Robin B. Anderson was born in Colorado and enlisted in the Navy in April 2012. He completed Basic Enlisted Submarine School and Auxiliary Package School before reporting aboard NORTH DAKOTA in November 2012 as a member of Auxiliary Division. Hollenbach noted, “During NORTH DAKOTA’s construction he volunteered to deploy with USS GEORGIA (SSGN 729) on a mission vital to national security in 2013.” Upon returning to NORTH DAKOTA he rapidly qualified for duties including Pilot/Co-Pilot and Duty Chief.

MM3 Anderson, Robin


The Executive Officer of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) Lieutenant Commander Cameron Aljilani and the 2015 Sailor of the Year for our boat Machinist Mate 1st Class Wesley Evers arrived in North Dakota for a namesake visit on Sunday, November 29th.  That afternoon they had a brief tour of the North Dakota Heritage Center including a stop to view the silver from the 1st USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29), and a driving tour of part of Bismarck followed by a trip to Fort Lincoln State Park with a hike up to the blockhouses.  It was a clear day and Petty Officer Evers said he had never been able to see that far.  They were able to spend time at a party at the home of Bill Butcher, the Vice Chairman of our USSND Committee, and his wife Dina as they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

On that Monday morning we all rode to Williston via Minot in fog until about 30 miles east of Williston where LCDR Aljilani and MM1 Evers could finally see the expansive prairie.  They joined me to speak at the Williston Rotary Club at noon and they both did an excellent job.  They met a great supporter of our boat after lunch, Steve Slocum, who joined us on an excellent tour he arranged for us of the new Williston Area Recreation Center, and he took us all out to dinner that evening.

Before the Rotary Club meeting a reporter and cameraman drove over from Minot to interview them for the KXMC evening news.


Here is a link to that story:

On Tuesday morning we visited with the Military Affairs Committee of the Williston Chamber of Commerce.  The MAC Chairman is on the left and the Chamber President is on the right.

MAC DSC04634

We then visited the Williston Herald where they were interviewed, followed by lunch with the Williston Lions Club where they spoke.


After lunch they were interviewed on KEYZ 660 AM Radio.


That evening they spoke to the Williston Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute (API).  The North Dakota ESGR Committee sponsored the API dinner meeting which was arranged by Shirley Olgeirson and Pam Miller of the ND ESGR Staff.   I spoke to the API and Cameron and Wesley spoke as well.  They presented the API with a Ship’s plaque in recognition of the support API had given our boat.


On Wednesday morning our faithful driver Brad Lykken drove us through the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park before we attended a special of the Watford City Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion.

Dec15 Park Tour (1)

We were fortunate not only to see lots of bison and deer, but also a herd of big horn sheep.  You can see some bison by Wesley’s right shoulder.

Dec15 Park Tour (13)

At the Watford City luncheon the XO and Sailor of the Year gave an excellent briefing.  The XO presented a Ship’s plaque to the Watford City American Legion which was accepted by McKenzie County Veterans Service Officer Navy retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Jerry Samuelson, a submarine sailor.

USSND Watford Legion

Finally on Wednesday evening Cameron and Wesley spoke to a dinner meeting of the North Dakota Council of the Navy League of the United States.  They presented the Navy League a Ship’s plaque and a framed photo.


Bob Wefald presented the crew a Pride of Dakota cribbage board.


I don’t know about them, but I was pretty tired by the time they left after a great visit to northwest North Dakota!









We need to clear out USS NORTH DAKOTA coins.  We have about 61 of the 3rd coin and 79 of the 4th coin, both in sterling silver, and we have several hundred of all four coins in bronze.  We need to have these coins in your collection and out of our storage.  Thus, we are now selling the 3rd and 4th sterling silver coins for $50 each inclusive of sales tax, shipping and handling.  This is a great deal as their original price for a sterling silver coin was $100 and $20 for a bronze coin.  For those of you who bought the first two sterling coins this is your chance to complete your set.  A collector’s set of all four coins in bronze is available for $15 inclusive of sales tax, shipping and handling.  All coins are 1.5″ in diameter.  Each silver coin is in a hinged presentation box, and all bronze are individually wrapped in a light sealed plastic bag. A set of bronze will be shipped in a plastic sandwich type bag.

The 1st coin features the crest of the first warship named after our state USS NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29).  The 2nd coin features the image of our Ship’s Sponsor, Katie Fowler.  The 3rd coin features the crest of  the second warship named for our state USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784).  The 4th coin features our boat’s commissioning pennant.  The reverse on all four coins is the image of our boat.

The 3rd coin in sterling silver:


The 4th coin in sterling silver:


The reverse side of both sterling silver coins:


The 1st coin in bronze:


The 2nd coin in bronze:


The 3rd coin in bronze:


The 4th coin in bronze:


The reverse side of all four bronze coins:


Order your sterling silver 3rd and 4th coins, as well as your collector set of all four bronze coins by sending your check payable to BMCF-COB to: USNSCOB, PO Box 1675, Bismarck ND 58502-1695.  All orders received before Friday, December 11th, will be shipped before Christmas.  You can also order over the phone and use your credit card.  Please call 701-223-5660.

But Wait!  There’s more!  We have 12 USSND challenge coins we will sell for $15 each, inclusive of sales tax, shipping and handling.  These are very attractive coins.  They are 2.5″ x 1.5″ in a heavy plastic pouch.  Here is what they look like:

Front side:


Reverse side:


We also have 24 cloth ship’s crest patches that measure 5″ x 3.25″.  We will sell these for $5 each.  I know, that was the original price, but inclusive of sales tax, shipping and handling, this is as low as we can go.  Besides these make great remembrances for us to hand out from time to time, but you can buy one now before they are all gone.  Here is what they look like:


Thanks to you and hundreds of generous contributors we did very well in raising funds to support the commissioning of our boat USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) on October 24, 2014, and we have funds leftover to support our boat and its crew over the years to come.  All of us have been blessed with yet another ship.  On September 16, 2015, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus came to Bismarck to announce the naming of a new Navy ship the City of Bismarck.  It is will be known as USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9).  USNS stands for United States Navy Ship.  It will be crewed by civilian merchant seamen and it will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command.  We will not have to raise large sums of money for the christening of this ship late in 2016, but we do need some funds to support her christening.  Because of our success with USSND, and due to our need to close out our coins and a few related items, we have transferred all of these items to the USNS City of Bismarck Committee.  Thus with the sale of these items we will generate some needed funds for that committee to support this second ship.


We received an email from Commander Mike Hollenbach, the Commanding Officer of our boat USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784), giving us an update on our boat and I wanted to share it with you.

Good evening,

I hope everyone is doing well out in North Dakota.  Fall has arrived in New England and things couldn’t be better on everyone’s favorite submarine.

Here are some updates from the recent events onboard:

1) I had my first “underway” in command in the middle of August as we cruised down the Thames River while being towed by the Submarine Base Tug Boats and headed for the drydock at Electric Boat.  We are off to a great start on the Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) and hope to complete ontime and get back to doing what submarines were made to do.

2) We are pleased to welcome two new babies to the North Dakota family.  Petty Officer First Class Cozens (Engineering Laboratory Technician) and Petty Officer Third Class Richards (Sonar Technician) have both had babies within the past couple of weeks.

3) USS NORTH DAKOTA was extremely fortunate to receive a bonus advancement quota this year under the Navy’s Meritorious Advancement Program.  This is a fantastic program in which Commanding Officers are allowed to meritoriously promote two Petty Officers per year to the next higher paygrade.  Captain Gordon was able to promote 2 sailors near the end of deployment back in July, and I had the pleasure of advancing our Leading Logistics Specialist, Petty Officer Huffman, to the rank of Petty Officer First Class just last week.

4) Also on the promotion front, the NORTH DAKOTA had three sailors selected this year for the rank of Chief Petty Officer.  I am pleased to announce that three of the Navy’s newest Chief Petty Officers are Chief Sonar Technician Hoyle, Chief Machinist Mate (Auxiliary Division) Groehler, and Chief Machinist Mate (Nuclear Machinery Division) Colbert.  Chief Hoyle and Chief Colbert are at the end of the tours onboard and will be leaving in the next few months, while Chief Groehler will remain onboard and serve as the Auxiliary Division Chief Petty Officer for the next two years.

5) On the family front, we are putting together a few activities that we hope will be very well received.  For those of you that recall CAPT Gordon’s speech at the change of command, we are taking a four-day command holiday weekend starting on Thursday afternoon this week.  This is the 96-hour holiday that CAPT Gordon had promised the crew for achieving 784 days without an alcohol related incident.  We will also be holding a family picnic this fall on Saturday, October 17th, and a holiday party on Friday, December 11th.

With regards to making things better for the guys onboard the submarine, we are looking to upgrade the entertainment systems in the Wardroom (new sound system), Chief’s Quarters (new TV and sound system), and Crew’s Mess (new TV).  This will be a great addition to help the guys relax while onboard for a duty day and will also be beneficial when the boat goes back to sea next year.

Have a great fall.


Mike Hollenbach Commanding Officer, USS NORTH DAKOTA