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PCU North Dakota Reaches another Milestone; Launches its Crest

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120824-12

By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota (SSN 784) launched its ship crest, an emblem that will be associated with the Virginia-class submarine during its entire service to the nation, Aug. 24.

The crest was created through a unique partnership between PCU North Dakota Commissioning Committee, and the submarine's crew.

"The acceptance of our crest is one of many important milestones our submarine and her crew will experience during the process of bringing her to life," said Cmdr. Doug Gordon, commanding officer, PCU North Dakota. "I want to personally thank the hard work of the PCU North Dakota Commissioning Committee for harnessing what both our submarine and namesake state symbolizes together. This crest will serve our submarine well in decades to come."

Historically a ship's crest combines Navy and submarine history with the rich tradition of the namesake state.

The North Dakota crest includes many elements which capture the essence and rich history of the "Peace Garden State." The crest includes sheafs of wheat, the first USS North Dakota (BB 29) at sea, an arrowhead shape, and the motto "Strength From The Soil" as indicated on the North Dakota Coat of Arms.

"This is an outstanding design that truly captures North Dakota's history as well as our heritage," said Bob Wefald, PCU North Dakota Commissioning Committee chair. "It also captures the dual meaning of six shooters and tomahawks for the two canisters of six Tomahawk cruise missiles each, which our second North Dakota will carry. The phrase 'Reapers of the Deep' ties in with the reapers of grain early in our state's history."

The USS North Dakota Committee spearheaded the crest design efforts in North Dakota. The contest began in February 2012.

The ship's sponsor Katie Fowler, wife of retired Vice Adm. Jeff Fowler, who attended the submarine's keel laying May 11, reflected on the crest and its meaning for the submarine and her crew.

"Selecting a ship's crest is a defining moment for a new ship. The crest will represent the ship, her crew, and its namesake for more than 30 years. It needs to reflect the warrior mentality of a warship's crew along with the enduring heritage of its name," said Fowler.

Fowler added that it was an extensive process to select the crest that would serve as its identifier.

"The process of receiving inputs from all ages in North Dakota, members of the crew, and Navy officials has produced many great symbols for consideration," said Fowler. "The thorough deliberation of the various inputs has helped reinforce important parts for the crest. In the end, we have a crest that will represent North Dakota well as the ship travels around the world, while motivating the warriors who serve in her."

More than 100 entries were submitted during the crest design contest. The top five entries were submitted to the crew of PCU North Dakota to be used in the creation of the final crest.

Gordon added that once they received the entries the Visual Information Service Center at Naval Submarine Support Facility helped bring all of the entries together.

"Jim Sikora, graphic specialist at the Visual Information Service Center, put a lot of effort into working with us to design our crest," said Gordon.

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 battleship USS North Dakota, which was in service from 1910 to 1923.

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.


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