Navy sec: USS South Dakota to serve for decadesSIOUX FALLS (AP) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus says a new Virginia-class submarine bearing the name USS South Dakota is scheduled to be built by 2017 and will serve the country for more than three decades.
By: Dirk Lammers, The Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus says a new Virginia-class submarine bearing the name USS South Dakota is scheduled to be built by 2017 and will serve the country for more than three decades.
The submarine will be the third Navy vessel to bear the name of the Rushmore state.
Mabus spoke in Sioux Falls on Saturday at the ship-naming ceremony, which was held at an outdoor memorial honoring a battleship that held the same name until it was decommissioned after World War II.
"Since 1947 there has not been a USS South Dakota in the fleet," Mabus said. "And I'm glad to correct that here today."
The first USS South Dakota was an armored cruiser that served in World War I. And the second one, commissioned 70 years ago, served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The 680-foot-long vessel, nicknamed "Battleship X," was decommissioned in 1947 and spent the next years 15 berthed at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard until it was sold for scrap in 1962.
South Dakota wanted to establish a museum to honor the battleship, but it was impossible to bring the massive vessel so far inland. Historians saved some of the key parts for display and built a concrete wall to show its footprint.
At Saturday's ceremony, Gov. Dennis Daugaard ceded the podium to Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, who had served in the Navy as a lieutenant commander. Michels invited Mabus back up to the podium to lead the crowd in a couple of chants of "Go Navy."
Michels said the battleship USS South Dakota had more battle scars during World War II than any other ship, and the new sub will continue to protect the country.
SSN 790, to be built at Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., will be 377 feet long, have a beam measurement of 34 feet and weigh 7,800 tons.
The future USS South Dakota will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land area, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, mine delivery and minefield mapping. It is also designed for special forces delivery and support.
Mabus said the vessel will honor the citizens of South Dakota.