State Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, was part of a bipartisan 70-member state delegation that attended the commissioning of the USS Minnesota last weekend in Norfolk, Va.
“This trip was a great opportunity for legislators to put aside political differences and honor our armed forces,” Housley said. “I was proud to show our support for the brave men and women who operate the newly-commissioned vessel named for our state, the USS Minnesota.”
Other delegation members included District 4 U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and other state lawmakers.
The state delegation’s trip was privately funded.
The USS Minnesota, a Virginia-class submarine, is only the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the state’s name. The first two vessels were launched in 1855 and 1905, respectively. Construction of the Minnesota began in February 2008. The ship was dubbed the “Minnesota” on July 15, 2008.
The honor of naming a U.S. Navy vessel after a state is a storied tradition in the nation’s history. In 1819, Congress put the naming of ships in the hands of the U.S. Secretary of the Navy under direction of the president.
“Minnesota has a long tradition of honoring its veterans of wars past and present,” Housley said. “It was an honor to take part in this historic ceremony. As a Minnesotan, I am proud that the newest and most impressive warship is named after our great state.”
The USS Minnesota is one of the most technologically-advanced submarines in the world. Measuring nearly 380 feet long, the submarine can reach speeds of over 25 knots and has the ability to stay submerged for three months at a time. Upon completion, USS Minnesota will be the 10th of a projected 30 Virginia-class submarines.