Lawmakers plan trip for commissioning of USS Minnesota submarine

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A bipartisan contingent of 16 Minnesota state legislators will be on hand to represent the state for U.S. Navy's commissioning of its newest fast attack submarine, the USS Minnesota.

The St. Cloud Times reports that the lawmakers who will travel to the Sept. 7 ceremony in Virginia include several with Navy service. Rep. Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer, a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander, is organizing the trip. Other naval veterans in the Legislature include Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, and Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth. Leidiger told the newspaper no state funds will be used for the trip.

“The Navy has graciously honored this state by naming the most advanced warship on the face of the earth (with) the name Minnesota,” Leidiger said. “We all ought to be very, very proud of that.”

A reporter from USA Today was aboard the 7,800-ton Virginia-class nuclear submarine last week as it took a test run in the Atlantic off the coast of Port Canaveral, Fla. The newspaper reported that the systems and equipment on the submarine remind some of the the crew of 134 enlisted sailors and officers of video games they once played, complete with interactive screens, buttons and joysticks.

"It's like a spaceship," said Chief Petty Officer Richard Shamberger told the newspaper. "Everything is electronic."

Huntington Ingalls Industries delivered the $2 billion vessel nearly 11 months ahead of schedule.

Constructionbegan in February 2008, and the sub was christened last October. The last Navy vessel to bear the name “Minnesota” was a Connecticut-class battleship commissioned in 1907 that saw service in World War I. Before that, the Navy’s first USS Minnesota was a wooden steam frigate commissioned in 1857 that saw action during the Civil War.

USA Today had this video aboard the vessel:

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