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Minnesota III (SSN-783)

Ships seal
Caption: Minnesota’s crest.

(SSN-783: displacement 7,800; length 377'; beam 34'; draft 32'; speed 30 knots; complement 132; armament Mk 48 Advanced Capability upgrade torpedoes, Tomahawk cruise missiles)

Minnesota, a territory named for a Lakota (Sioux) Native American word meaning “sky‑tinted water” and organized in 1849, was admitted to the Union as the 32d State on 11 May 1858.


Minnesota’s crest. The state of Minnesota is colored blue, like the water in her 10,000 lakes, and signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The Viking, a member of the great seafarers of old, represents the descendants of the Norwegian, Swedish, and German settlers who first arrived in Minnesota. The three chain links connect the three ships named Minnesota, and are represented by three five-point stars on the tips of the chain links. From the Civil War, to the Great White Fleet, World War I, and today, Minnesota has and will continue to play an important role in the defense of the United States. The links are colored blue; the same as the state flag of Minnesota. The center ring that connects the chain links is colored maroon, borrowing a color from the University of Minnesota, which symbolizes the state’s commitment to academic excellence and wisdom. This dedication to excellence is found in the Submarine Force’s mastery of the science and technology necessary to design, build, and operate a nuclear powered submarine. The submarine Minnesota is shown rigged for dive, an d on the move through the world’s oceans. On her bow is Minnesota’s state fish, the walleye. The walleye is the top predator fish in the lakes of Minnesota, and like the walleye, Minnesota dominates the undersea environment. The large five-point star on the Viking’s helmet represents both Minnesota as the “North Star State,” as well as the celestial beacon that all mariners over the millennium have guided their ships by. The submarine’s motto, “Ex Septentrio, Virtus,” means, “From the North Star, Power.”

Minnesota was laid down on 20 May 2011 at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va.; launched on 3 November 2012; sponsored by Ellen Roughead, wife of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; and commissioned on 7 September 2013, Cmdr. John W. Fancher in command.

The Navy awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding, partnered with Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics, Groton, Conn., a contract to build Minnesota (SSN 783). Huntington Ingalls began the construction in February 2008, and the Department of Defense announced the selection of her name on 15 July. Minnesota’s keel was authenticated in May 2011, and the submarine was announced “pressure hull complete” on 23 May 2012. She was christened on 27 October 2012. The Navy accepted delivery of the boat on 6 June 2013, 11 months early of her original contract delivery date of April 2014.

On 15 October 2013, Secretary of the Navy Raymond E. Mabus Jr. announced that Virginia (SSN-771) and Minnesota had been selected as the initial two Virginia-class attack submarines to integrate female officers into their crews. A total of six women, two Supply Corps and four nuclear-propulsion trained, were to report on board the two attack boats no later than January 2015. Since the Navy had changed the policy prohibiting women from serving on board submarines on 29 April 2010, the submarine force had integrated 43 women in three Ohio class ballistic missile submarines — Louisiana (SSBN-743), Maine (SSBN-741), and Wyoming (SSBN-742) — and three Ohio class guided missile submarines — Florida (SSGN-728), Georgia (SSGN-729), and Ohio (SSGN-726).

On 30 June 2014, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, approved Naval Administrative message 19/15 “Opening Submarine Force Billets to Enlisted Women.” Secretary Mabus approved the message the following day. The plan included opening all submarine ratings and enlisted classification codes to enlisted women in Fiscal Year 2015 for a two-phase integration on board Ohio and Virginia class boats. Submarine Force Atlantic announced on 21 January 2015, that Vice Adm. Michael J. Connor, Commander Submarine Forces, could -- with congressional approval -- begin implementing the plan. The Navy intended to integrate the first two such crews, the Blue and Gold crews of guided missile submarine Michigan (SSGN-727), in 2016, and to continue with 12 additional crews through 2021. Phase Two would consist of Virginia class boats.

Detailed history under construction

Mark L. Evans

21 August 2014

Published: Mon Oct 26 12:23:40 EDT 2015