By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs
MOORHEAD, N.D. (NNS) -- The executive officer assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota (SSN 784) is participating in a three-day visit to the namesake state to bring awareness to the 11th Virginia-class submarine, May 1-3.
During the visit, Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah Minner will meet with the USS North Dakota Commissioning Committee, and the North Dakota Council of the Navy League and the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. Minner will also serve as the guest speaker at the Annual Planning and Awards Conference of the North Dakota Committee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
"This is a milestone event for me in that it marked my first namesake visit to the state of North Dakota," said Minner. "My goal for this visit is to increase awareness of the submarine and her crew as well as provide an update on her construction."
Minner's visit to North Dakota comes about two weeks before the submarine's major milestone - its keel laying - which will be held at General Dynamics Electric Boat's Quonset Point May 11. North Dakota's keel-laying is the submarine's first major milestone since construction began in 2009.
In January, Cmdr. Doug Gordon, PCU North Dakota commanding officer, participated in his first visit to the namesake state. During his visit he toured the North Dakota State Capitol, the North Dakota Heritage Center, and visited the city of Bismarck-Mandan. He also met with the state's Navy League, submarine veterans of North Dakota, USS North Dakota Commissioning Committee members, state dignitaries, state legislators, and Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
"Namesake visits are critical during the construction phase of a submarine," said Gordon, "because these visits increase the awareness of not only the submarine and her crew, but the critical investment by the taxpayers of North Dakota and the nation."
In late October 2011, PCU North Dakota Chief of the Boat Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS/DV) Timothy A. Preabt, originally from Mandan, N.D., visited his namesake state. Preabt is currently the only Sailor assigned to PCU North Dakota that hails from the "friendliest state."
PCU North Dakota, the second ship named in honor of North Dakota, will be delivered by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton and will be the 11th Virginia-class submarine when it is commissioned in 2014.
The only other ship to bear the name North Dakota was the Delaware-class USS North Dakota (BB 29), which was in service from 1910 to 1923. The contract to build PCU North Dakota was awarded to Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Groton, Conn., Dec. 22, 2008, as part of a teaming arrangement with Newport News Shipbuilding.
Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; irregular; and mine warfare missions; as well as support special operation forces; and covert intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.