Tester lobbies to have new sub named after Montana


by Dennis Bragg

WASHINGTON, DC- Senator Jon Tester and several veterans’ groups are launching a lobbying effort to convince the U.S. Navy to name its newest submarine after Montana.

The sub, currently designated SSN-791, is the last of 8 Virginia class fast attack nuclear submarines scheduled to be delivered in 2019.

In a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Tester notes that Montana is the only state that has never had a Naval vessel named in its honor.

He says the state’s “landlocked status” shouldn’t prevent it from having a ship named after it, especially since there have been three USS Colorados and three USS South Dakotas.

“Entering the Union in 1889, Montana’s citizens have served their country with pride, and thousands have proudly served in the Navy and Marine Corps,” Tester wrote. “Naming this submarine the USS Montana would be an honor for the people of Montana and would pay tribute to the men and women who have served and given their lives.”

Efforts to name ships after Montana in the past haven’t had much success. A ship was christened the USS Montana in 1906, only to be renamed later. During World War II, the keel was laid for the USS Montana, which was to be the first of a massive new class of battleships larger that then the Iowa class ships like the USS Missouri. But the project was scraped in favor of more aircraft carriers after the decisive Battle of Midway.

The effort to name the ship is being supported by the Montana VFW, The American Legion of Montana and the Montana Department of the Disabled American Veterans.