7 February 2016
As Colorado gets ready for the launch of its namesake submarine, South Dakota is celebrating its own Virginia-class boat.
South Dakota will follow Colorado into the water as the Navy launches its new fleet of state-named ships, following a tradition.
The original USS South Dakota was built in 1908 and was used during World War I. The second battleship to share the new submarine's name was launched on June 7, 1941, and went on two tours in the Pacific during World War II. It was placed in reserve on Jan. 31, 1947.
With the submarines, the Navy is working to build ties with landlocked states, the Argus-Leader of Sioux Falls, S.D., reported.
Cmdr. Ron Withrow and some of the new South Dakota's submarine crew visited the Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters in Sioux Falls this month on the first stop of a statewide tour planned to end at Mount Rushmore.
"We're looking forward to forging a relationship with the state of South Dakota," Withrow told the group of veterans.
The Navy has taken a similar course for the USS Colorado, which is set to launch in 2017. Colorado has assembled a commissioning committee that is raising cash to honor the state's namesake boat and provide a fund to help Colorado sailors in need.
It's the same story in South Dakota where the state is working to celebrate its submarine.
"This namesake will be more than a fleeting, ceremonial connection between the new submarine and our state," South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard told the Sioux Falls paper. "A commissioning committee has been brought aboard to organize events surrounding the submarine's keel laying, christening and commissioning. However, and perhaps more importantly, the committee will work to forge a relationship between the state and the submarine for the duration of its service."
Colorado's commissioning committee has worked to drum up political support this winter, too.
This month, Colorado state lawmakers passed a resolution praising the state's nuclear attack submarine and her crew.
"We, the members of the General Assembly, express our greatest pride in the newest USS Colorado and wish the greatest successes for her crew," the resolution said.
The Colorado commissioning committee, meanwhile, is still hoping for sponsors. For information, visit usscolorado committee.org.