by Dennis Dalman
For the first time since 1907, an advanced naval warship was named after the State of Minnesota, and the new ship is the most state-of-the-art attack submarine in the United States Navy’s arsenal.
State Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) was one of several local lawmakers who attended the commissioning ceremony of the “USS Minnesota” Sept. 7 at the naval shipyard at Norfolk, Va. The submarine was officially christened Oct. 27, 2012.
Others who planned to attend are State Rep. Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud) and State Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville), who represents the St. Joseph and surrounding area.
The keynote speaker at the commissioning ceremony was U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
O’Driscoll said he was proud and honored to be able to attend the Sept. 7 event.
“I am honored to join Minnesota’s elected leaders in support of this truly historic ship and its crew of brave men and women who will travel the world to protect America’s interests,” he said. “It’s important to stand behind the crew of the USS Minnesota and all those who protect our freedoms at home and abroad.”
O’Driscoll is a member of the Minnesota House State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs Committee and has authorized many pieces of legislation having to do with the support of military members and their families. He has been honored with many awards for his work on behalf of veterans’ issues.
Construction of the USS Minnesota began in February 2008. The ship was delivered to the Navy on June 7 of this year after weeks of at-sea trial runs. Commissioning exercises Sept. 7 were held in honor of the submarine’s crew of 135 sailors and their families. The ceremony is organized and sponsored by the Navy League (Twin Cities Council).
The USS Minnesota is 377 feet long and is propelled by an S9G nuclear reactor. Its top speed is 15 knots (46 mph). The sub weighs 7,800 tons.