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(SD)-USS South Dakota Ready For Commissioning

By: John Axtell Posted at: 02/02/2019 11:08 PM
GROTON, Conn. (AP) -  Dignitaries from South Dakota are in New London, Connecticut, today for the commisisoning ceremony of the Navy's newest nuclear-powered attack submarine, the USS South Dakota.

      It's the 17th sub in the Virginia class, whose mission is to attack other submarines as well as surface targets using either torpedoes or cruise missiles.

       The featured speaker at the commissioning will be U-S Senator and former South Dakota governor Mike Rounds with current Gov Kristi Noem leading the state delegation at the ceremony.

     The submarine's sponsor is Deanie Dempsey, wife of former General Martin Dempsey, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the sub's construction was approved.. In the Navy tradition, she will give the order today to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

     The keel laying ceremony for the South Dakota took place on April 4, 2016, with her christening ceremony and the iconic shattering of a bottle of champagne by Mrs Dempsey was October 14, 2017.

.     The South Dakota is 377 feet long, can dive to depths greater than 800 feet, operate at speeds greater than 25 knots on the surface and 35 knots while underwater, and run for more than 30 years without ever refueling.

     The commissioning celebration actually began Thursday and one of the first night highlights was a custom-made 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle that pays homage to both the new submarine and the last ship to carry the state's name, the WWII battleship USS South Dakota.

    Thursday's event drew a crowd of about 700, including the crew of the sub. Harley-Davidson donated the bike and plans to keep it in shape for the next 30 years, eventually putting it in a South Dakota museum for permanent display.

     There have been 3 Navy ships named the USS South Dakota. The first was a cruiser built in 1904 and renamed the USS Huron in 1920. It was decomissioned in 1927 and sold as scrap in 1930.

    The battleship South Dakota, one of the most decorated of WWII, was scrapped in 1962, but is memorialized in a Sioux Falls park with memorabilia and parts of the ship displayed within an outline of the main deck. One of its screws is on display outside the U.S. Navy Museum in Washington, D.C.


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