Happy Holidays to all the fantastic supporters of the USS NORTH DAKOTA. From the looks of the weather reports, you’ve had quite the December snow falls out west so far. We had one slushy day of snow that quickly turned to rain a couple of weeks ago, but since then we’ve pretty much just had a lot of rain. With respect to the boat and the crew, here is the latest news:
In the best news of 2016, the Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) is finally over. After 16 months of extremely hard work and long hours by the crew, PSA culminated with a highly successful week-long Sea Trials. The crew was once again able to demonstrate their skills in operating the submarine, and the boat performed flawlessly in a wide variety of system tests and operations. The timing was just about perfect, as the PSA completed in December just in time for the crew to take a well deserved holiday stand down. The two-week rest period over the holidays will allow virtually all crew members to enjoy a week of leave with their families, and return to the NORTH DAKOTA ready for a very busy 2017.
As the first Block III Virginia Class submarine, the first half of 2017 will certainly be busy for the NORTH DAKOTA and her crew. NORTH DAKOTA will be the test platform for all of the Developmental Testing and Operational Testing for the entire 8 submarine block. After a brief installation and load out period to install test equipment and temporary systems for the testing, NORTH DAKOTA will spend most of the first half of 2017 at-sea performing acoustic testing, combat systems testing, and weapons launch testing. Once the months of combat system testing are complete, the crew will complete a round of at-sea inspections to start the deployment preparation period, and the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 will feature the final crew and material readiness preparations for the NORTH DAKOTA’s first six month overseas deployment.
That’s about it for the news on NORTH DAKOTA right now. I’m looking forward to getting the crew back from holiday stand down, rested and ready for 2017. We have our holiday party coming up on January 13th, and I know the crew and MWR our very much looking forward to that event. Hope 2016 was a great year for all of our supporters back in NORTH DAKOTA. Best wishes for a great 2017 too.
Commanding Officer, USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN 784)