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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

News Review
NEWS RELEASE: Secretary Ritchie Travels to Virginia for USS Minnesota Commissioning
Posted Date: 9/6/2013

Dennis Smith (651) 297-8919


Saturday Ceremony in Norfolk to Dedicate Navy’s Newest Submarine

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — September 6, 2013—Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will serve as the senior state official representing Minnesota at the commissioning of the USS Minnesota this Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia. The delegation will include nearly two dozen state legislators and other dignitaries. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will officiate at the ceremony.

“I’m honored to represent our citizens and state’s constitutional officers at this historic event,” says Ritchie. “This new ship reflects Minnesota’s dedication to service and our heritage in our nation’s armed forces.”

The commissioning ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 7, at Pier 12, Naval Station Norfolk, the Navy’s largest base on the globe. At the end of the ceremony, Commander John Fancher will read his orders and take command. In a time-honored tradition, the crew will be called upon to "man the ship." With the order, Minnesota’s crew will board the vessel and formally place the submarine in commission.

The USS Minnesota SSN 783 is the newest of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarines. The 377-foot-long vessel is armed with Tomahawk missiles, can stay submerged for up to three months, and displaces about 7,800 tons when submerged. The submarine, with a crew of 135, boasts the motto “From the North, Power,” on the ship’s crest. The crew also selected a second motto, “Silent Hammer.”

Construction of the USS Minnesota began in February 2008. Her life span is expected to be nearly 33 years.

The submarine is the third ship in the U.S. Navy to bear the state’s name. The first USS Minnesota, a steam frigate commissioned in 1857, served during the Civil War and was decommissioned in 1898. The second Minnesota, commissioned in 1907, was one of 16 battleships of the “Great White Fleet” ordered on an around-the-world voyage by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. She served through World War I and was decommissioned in 1921.

Editor’s Note: Photos with captions will be posted on Flicker at; Submarine Group 2 Website:

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