For the delivery of IUSNS CITY OF BISMARCK to the Navy Second Officer Patricia Evenson was given the authorization by the Navy to accept the delivery of our ship. This honor given to her had special meaning as she is a 2010 graduate of Bismarck’s Century High School and a native of Bismarck. She graduated from the United States Merchant Academy in 2014 and is serving for six years in the merchant marine service. She is also a Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in the Navy Reserve. She is shown on the left.

Accepting ship

Patricia Evenson is seen being congratulated on accepting the delivery of our ship. In the background is our ship’s Chief Engineer Clarence Vick.

BISMARCK Delivery Photo 3- 2nd Officer - Evenson

A very happy Captain James Regan is shown with his wife and son after taking over command of his ship!

Captain Regan, wife and baby



The sponsor of USNS CITY OF BISMARCK is the Honorable Jane Harman a former United States Representative from California who is the head of the Woodrow Wilson Institute. Here are photos of her during the christening ceremony held underneath the ship in the assembly hangar at the AUSTAL USA shipyard.

Here Ms. Harman is being acknowledged.

C006 Sponsor being acknowledged

She did a terrific job of christening our ship!

C008 Bottle breaks

Everyone sheered her “smashing success!”

C009 Post christening

The platform dignitaries posed for a photo.

C010 Entire platfom party

Captain James Regan and our sponsor Jane Harman cutting the cake.

C011 Cutting the cake

Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary brought greetings from the people of Bismarck.

C005 Mike Seminary

Our Bismarck delegation posing for a photo in passenger are of our ship. Front row L to R: Megan Seminary, Susan Wefald, Deb Seminary, Commissioner Nancy Guy. Back row L to R: Bob Wefald, Chairman of our USNS City of Bismarck Committee, Greg Stites, Mayor Mike Semiary


We enjoyed a complete tour of our ship!






The Keel Laying ceremony for USNS CITY OF BISMARCK was held on January 18, 2017, at the AUSTA USA shipyard in the hangar where the ship was being assembled. USNS City of Bismarck Committee Chairman Bob Wefald was given the honor of authenticating the “Keel.” In a “Keel Laying” ceremony the authenticator’s initials are welded onto a metal plate which is then installed on the ship.

The ceremony was held under the stern of the ship.


The authenticator of the keel was called on to make a few remarks.


An AUSTAL USA welder welded the authenticator’s initials onto a metal plate.


A group photo was taken at the end of the ceremony with the welder on the right.


The metal plate is now installed on the third deck of the ship.

Keel plaque 3 R


On January 23rd 2018, USNS CITY OF BISMARCK (T-EPF-9) departed  the AUSTAL USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, on its maiden voyage as a US Navy owned and Military Sealift (MSC) operated vessel. Here she is shown leaving Mobile Bay.

BISMARCK Underway Photo R

As a US Navy ship operated by the Military Sealift Command she has a civilian merchant marine crew of 26 with Captain James Regan serving as Master of the ship. She is a high speed catamaran capable of speed in excess of 40 knots with a range of 1400 nautical miles. She can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). She has a flight deck for helicopter operations capable of handling the Navy’s largest helicopter. She has an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp is suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. Her shallow draft further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes her an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport. She has with airline style seating for more than 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 146.

The City of Bismarck displaces 2300 tons, is 337 feet long and 93.6 feet wide. She is powered by four diesel engines driving water jets. She can carry 600 tons of cargo and equipment.



This addition of USNS CITY OF BISMARCK (T-EPF-9) to our USS North Dakota blog is long overdue. Since our USS North Dakota Committee is also the USNS City of Bismarck Committee we thought we should finally include both of our ships in this one blog. As we were well into the preparations for the commissioning events surrounding USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784) we learned Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus first announced the naming of a Joint High Speed Vessel for North Dakota’s capital city. In his news release  on June 30, 2013, Mabus named the USNS Bismarck (JHSV-9). The formal naming did not take place until September 15, 2015, at a news conference at the State Heritage Center in Bismarck when Secretary Mabus announced USNS CITY OF BISMARCK (T-EPF-9) as the 9th ship in the class. That day the ships in this class were  re-designated  as EPF for expeditionary fast transport, dropping any reference to “joint” since the Army, which in the original contract for ten ships was supposed to get five of the ships,  decided the Navy should operate all of the ships. Thus, Secretary Mabus changed the class to EPF as it was no longer Joint.

A quick series of blog posts will bring you up to date on the construction and events if the life of USNS CITY OF BISMARCK (T-EPF-9). The “T” in the class is the designation used by the Navy for every class of ship operated by its Military Sealift Command.


North Dakota Team,

You may have heard in the news that we had a very unfortunate event onboard USS NORTH DAKOTA this last week. One of our young petty officers attempted to take his own life. He was issued an M16 rifle as part of the watch he was standing, which he used to shoot himself in the chest.

NORTH DAKOTA responded in heroic fashion. My corpsman (equivalent of a physicians assistant) led a team that treated his injuries and stabilized him as well as possible. My radioman kept communication through bad weather and were able to get trauma doctors who could send chat messages and lend assistance. My navigation and ship driving team found the fastest way back to port, and then traversed heavy seas at high speeds. We brought the boat in to the mouth of the Thames River in New London and transferred the sailor to a tug which rushed him to a pier where an ambulance got the sailor to the hospital. From gunshot to ambulance took about 7 hours. We drove up the river in dense fog, in the dark of night, with intense wind and rain. It was the worst weather I’ve ever seen for something like this.

Every single member of the crew was amazing. NORTH DAKOTA Sailors dissembled parts of the ship to set up ways to get the sailor off in a stretcher more comfortably.  When the sailor was lucid, other crew members held a phone in front of his face to let him watch music videos.  A small team of sailors set up for a very complex helicopter transfer, just in case that became an option.  Several NORTH DAKOTA Sailors lashed themselves to the deck of the boat at hours near midnight in “Pea Soup” fog to brace against the weather and make a human safety net for paramedics who helped with our transfer. Others braved the storm to flash lights and help the tug boat find us.

I can’t truly express the amount of heroism I saw in the last 48 hours. As a result the Sailor is recovering from surgery in a hospital in New Haven with his parents by his side.

It was a terrible event, but the sailors of NORTH DAKOTA are heroes.

CDR Mark Robinson

Commanding Officer


Here is a link to the article in the New London Day:




It’s not too late to send cookies and cards to the crew of our boat USS NORTH DAKOTA! Carol Schwenk reports that so far she has delivered 9 boxes of cookies and two bunches of cards. She is hoping more will arrive this week as Christmas is fast approaching.

As you can see, our crew is happily receiving some North Dakota LOVE in the form of cookies and cards!

Cookies for the crew

Ship your cookies and cards to: USSND, c/o Carol Schwenk, 24 Osprey Drive,
Gales Ferry, CT 06335.