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USS North Dakota chief petty officers, from left, Jason Roberts and Jonathan Noll greet Paul Bonicelli, chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committee, and Bob Wefald, right, chairman of the USS North Dakota Committee, during a luncheon Thursday at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge and Conference Center.

USS North Dakota crew members visit Dickinson

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News Dickinson,North Dakota 58602 http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/32/1024/0627-uss-n.d.1-copy.jpg?itok=oEH4FU5W
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USS North Dakota crew members visit Dickinson
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Two USS North Dakota crew members gave a presentation to the public Thursday at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge. They answered questions regarding the Virginia-class nuclear submarine being built in Groton, Conn., that is expected to travel the world.

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Chief petty officers Jason Roberts and Jonathan Noll were guests of Bob Wefald, chairman of the USS North Dakota Committee, and Paul Bonicelli, chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

This is the second ship named after the state of North Dakota. The first USS North Dakota was a battleship commissioned from 1910 to 1923, Wefald said.

"It's taken us 23 years for the secretary of Navy to agree to have another ship named after the state," he said. "Our committee was formed to build a good relationship between the ship and our state."

The committee's goal is to get the word out about its construction, raise money and sponsor a commissioning ceremony in 2014, he said.

While traveling around the region, Roberts said, "We're basically talking about the U.S. submarine forces in general, and where the boats are located."

The USS North Dakota will cost $2.6 billion when completed. It has a life expectancy of 33 years without a need to refuel.

"About 66 percent of the construction is done," Noll said.

It will have the capability of reconnaissance missions, shallow and deep sea attacks. It will have a crew of 134 enlisted personnel and officers, he said.

"With submarines, we can go places where others can't and nobody knows we're there," Roberts said.

"This is an incredibly big deal for our state -- to have a $2.6 billion boat carrying the name of North Dakota all over the world for 33 years," Wefald said.

Noll and Roberts will ride in the Roughrider Parade on

Saturday.

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Linda Sailer
(701) 456-1209
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