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Local sailors will be aboard U.S.S. Minnesota for Saturday's launch

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Some sailors from Minnesota will be aboard the U.S.S. Minnesota when the new Naval sub is commissioned Saturday in Norfolk, Va., KARE 11 reports.

The $2 billion, 377-foot long Virginia-class nuclear submarine will be operated by 134 crew members, including Minnesotans Senior Chief Charles Hystad and First Class Tony Finley.

"It's actually fun to be on one that's actually named after your home state, so you can see your home state's name when you're coming to work," Hystad tells KARE.

Also aboard the will be Minnesota native Machinists Mate 1st Class Ted Collette, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Collette tells the News Tribune that serving on the Minnesota “and being from Minnesota, that’s icing on the cake."

The Minnesota sailors won't be alone when the submarine hits the depth of the oceans Saturday. A bipartisan contingent of 16 state legislators will be on hand at the ceremony.

The other big Minnesota connection with the vessel is the ship's crest -- designed by Jakob Bartels from Roseville -- which depicts an intimidating walleye and the colors of maroon and gold for the U of M. Lastly, a viking which is prominently displayed with the North Star.

Construction on the sub began in 2008.

It's been five years since the state has been represented on the high seas, and much longer where a vessel has actually bared the state's name.

The U.S.S. Minneapolis-St. Paul, which sailed in the 1990s, ended its run in 2008, and the last vessel dubbed the U.S.S. Minnesota was de-commissioned in 1921.

KSTP-TV posted a slideshow with a look inside the sub.

See KARE's video on the pending launch of the U.S.S. Minnesota below.

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