BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today congratulated and thanked the leadership and crew of the USS North Dakota for their important service during a change of command ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Conn.
The governor and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum were among a contingent of North Dakotans in attendance as Commander Mark Robinson relieved Commander Michael P. Hollenbach to become the submarine’s third commanding officer. Burgum also issued a proclamation Thursday declaring it USS North Dakota Day.
“Kathryn and I are deeply grateful to the officers and crew for their outstanding service and critical mission in the world’s most modern and sophisticated attack submarine,” Burgum said. “President Theodore Roosevelt famously said, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick,’ and I can’t think of a better example of that philosophy than the USS North Dakota. At a time of heightened global tensions, the unmatched capability of this Virginia-class submarine and her exceptional crew is more important than ever to maintaining peace through strength, and is a source of immense pride for the people of North Dakota.”
Officially named the USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784), the submarine was commissioned Oct. 25, 2014. It’s the first submarine to carry vertical payload tubes nicknamed the “Six Guns,” each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Robinson is a 2000 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He previously served aboard the USS Connecticut, USS New Hampshire and the USS Hawaii.