U.S.S. South Dakota commissioned in ceremony filled with fanfare
GROTON CONN. – The State of South Dakota has once again made its mark on the nation’s armed forces. This time, with the United States Navy.
Years of hard work paid off on Saturday morning when the USS South Dakota was officially commissioned in Groton, Conn. With the sound of a horn, South Dakota’s naval legacy entered a new chapter. The submarine was officially christened and is now ready to serve on the high seas.
The Virginia Class attack submarine is the 17th submarine in its fleet and the first submarine named after the Mount Rushmore State.
“This is our boat because of the values that power it,” said US Representative Dusty Johnson. “American values. The people gathered here today love freedom, hard work, and peace.”
This is the third vessel named after South Dakota. The first was a Pennsylvania class troop escort vessel in World War One, and the second, a famous battleship in World War Two.
“Our adversaries are taking note as this sub will further strengthen our global presence and ability to protect the US and our allies,” said Senator John Thune from Washington D.C. earlier this week.
The new sub, designated SSN790, is one of the Navy’s most adaptable vessels. It can be used for submarine warfare, anti-ship attacks, and recon among countless other tasks. The 377 foot long sub can dive to depths of 300 feet. The vessel will house a crew of over 100 people, and will carry South Dakota’s name across the globe.
“They [the residents of South Dakota] want you to know that they are proud of you,” said Governor Kristi Noem to the ship’s crew during the ceremony. “They are grateful for you, they will remember their freedoms, and pray to God every night that you will be safe and come home.”
Though South Dakota is just about as far away from the sea as one can get in the US, leaders say its people continue to serve the nation.
“We are fiercely proud of the men and women who serve on this new submarine now and in the future,” said Senator Mike Rounds at the ceremony, “Just as we are fiercely proud as those who served on the previous two Navy vessels bearing the same title.”