Gov. Jack Dalrymple quoted the nation's 26th president during the christening ceremony of the USS North Dakota (SSN-784) today in Groton, Conn. Dalrymple shouted a proud "bully" in reference to the state-of-the-art nuclear submarine as President Theodore Roosevelt had done in 1907 as he watched an armada of U.S. battleships depart on a mission to circumnavigate the world.
"History states that President Roosevelt shouted "bully' as the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet formed an impressive column out to the open sea, embarking on an important mission in service to this country," Dalrymple said. "Today, we too say "bully' in reference to this majestic submarine and express our pride and gratitude to the U.S. Navy and the crew of the USS North Dakota for allowing this mighty ship to bear the name, North Dakota."
The Governor and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple attended today's ceremony and were joined by federal, state and military officials, as well as the crew of the USS North Dakota. Several North Dakotans also attended the ceremony, including many veterans and members of the nation's military. Dalrymple extended greetings on behalf of the people of North Dakota and presented a North Dakota flag to the ship's officers and crew.
The USS North Dakota is the first of what is called the Block III variant of the U.S. Navy's Virginia-class nuclear submarines, which will implement new technologies making it more efficient and able to upgrade throughout its 30+-year life. The ship is 377 feet long, weighs 7,800 tons and will operate for 33 years without a need to refuel. Construction on the USS North Dakota began in March 2009. The ship's commissioning will be held May 31 of next year.
Today's christening coincided with North Dakota's 124th anniversary of statehood. North Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889, when President Benjamin Harrison signed the Proclamation of Admission.