USS South Dakota commissioned in CT
USS South Dakota was officially commissioned in Groton, Connecticut. With the sound of a horn, South Dakota’s naval legacy entered a new chapter. The submarine was officially christened and is now ready to serve on the high seas.
Gov. Kristi Noem, Sen. Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson attended the ceremony Saturday morning.
According to a press release from Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs, the USS South Dakota (SSN 790) became the newest and 17th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine in the U.S. Navy during her commissioning ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London, February 2, 2019.
The U.S. Navy, with assistance from Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, the ship’s sponsor, gave the command, “Man our ship and bring her to life!” spurring the crew into action and all ship’s systems to be tested, including alarms, bells, radars, and scopes.
USS South Dakota’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Craig Litty, highlighted South Dakota’s capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement.
“South Dakota was built to be on scene and unseen, forward deployed and ready to take the fight to our adversaries and protect our shores here,” said Litty.
Commander of the Submarine Forces, Vice Adm. Chas Richard underscored Litty’s remarks. “South Dakota will soon enter the fleet with stealth, flexibility and endurance,” said Richard, addressing the crew and attendees.
“Traveling silently through the world’s oceans undetected, collecting information, preparing for battle, and if necessary, striking from the deep swiftly without warning; answering the nation’s call. To the south Dakota crew, as your motto attests, ‘Under The Sea, We Rule’ because the nation the navy and the Mt. Rushmore state are depending on you,”he added.
Dempsey expressed what the moment and her role as the ship’s sponsor means to her. “It is my privilege to be the sponsor of USS South Dakota,” said Dempsey. “I’ve been here from the very beginning, watching both the boat and her crew grow and that gives me a tremendous sense of pride. When I said those words and the Sailors responded ‘Aye, Aye, Ma’am!’, it gave me goosebumps.”
South Dakota is the seventh of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are made with the new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities.
The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling.