Today marks the launch anniversary of the very first atomic submarine; it’s a great opportunity to talk about two ships of the US Navy that have been named in honor of North Dakota.
The first USS North Dakota was launched in 1908 and operated with the Atlantic Fleet along the East Coast and the Caribbean Sea. During World War I, the USS North Dakota (BB-29) cruised the coast of Mexico and participated in gunnery drill training in the Chesapeake Bay. She was decommissioned in 1923 and her steam engines were fit into the USS Nevada.
A model of the first USS North Dakota is on display at the Heritage Center in Bismarck, along with numerous pieces of her silver service and both the one ton bow place and the 850 pound bell from the ship.
The USS North Dakota (SSN-784) will be the second ship of the US Navy to be named for the 39th state. Her building contract was awarded in 2003, and name was announced in 2008. This will be the first of the Block III subs with revised design and new nuclear technology. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned in 2014. You can read more about the process and even watch a video on the making of a submarine courtesy of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce. Commemorative battle coins and merchandise are also available.