HELENA — On Saturday, June 25, the U.S. Navy commissioned the USS Montana (SSN 794) in a traditional ceremony held at Naval Station Norfolk.
Under Secretary of the Navy Erik K. Raven highlighted Montana’s capabilities at the event.
“When USS Montana joins that fleet, she will add next generation of stealth, surveillance, and special warfare capabilities to our Joint Force, and extend our integrated deterrence capabilities,” said Raven. “This powerful boat and her crew will protect our sea lanes, strengthen our maritime dominance, and contribute to strengthening our relationships with our allies and partners.”
Virginia-class fast-attack submarine was constructed by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). More than 10,000 shipbuilders from Newport News Shipbuilding and Electric Boat have participated in Montana’s construction since the work began in May 2015. She’s more than 370 feet long, 34 feet wide, and about 7,800 tons.
Governor Greg Gianforte praised the vessel, leadership and crew at the event. He thanked all assigned to Montana for their sacrifices in service to their country.
“Our state will always support you, your crew members, your families and your missions in uncertain times,” Gianforte said. “When those uncertain times come I hope crew members will draw strength from one Montana value in particular, resilience.”
Gianforte pointed to recent severe flooding in the state that destroyed homes and critical infrastructure as an example of Montana resilience.
“Montanans, uncertain of their own future, helped stranded visitors. Neighbors came from far and wide to stack sandbags, haul mud out of basements and put lives back together,” noted Gianforte.
Gianforte also praised the USS Montana Committee for giving Montana voices to the project. The committee is a group of volunteer Montanans from across our state who support the commissioning. They also provide appropriate financial support for educational, ceremonial, operational and other needs of the USS Montana not provided by the U.S. Navy because of budget or other constraints.
The new submarine is the second U.S. Navy ship to honor the state. The first USS Montana (ACR-13), an armored cruiser, was also built at Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned July 1908. She served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, landed Marines during unrest in Haiti in 1914 and escorted convoys during World War I. She was decommissioned in 1921. Two other battleships (BB 51 and 67) were to have been named Montana however, were canceled in 1922 and 1943 respectively.