Tester asks Navy to christen submarine USS Montana

Montana is only state without a vessel named for it, senator tells Navy Secretary

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester says "Montana" ought to be at the top of the list when the U.S. Navy decides to name its newest submarine.

In a letter sent today to Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter, Tester said Montana is the only state in the nation to have never had a naval vessel named for it—even though there have been six USS New Yorks, four ships named USS Alaska and three USS South Dakotas.

"The people of the State of Montana are strong patriots.  Their love of country and commitment to the United States Armed Services can be seen in high rates of enlistment," Tester wrote.  "And despite being a landlocked state, thousands of Montanans have served in the Navy and Marines during times of conflict."

Nearly 500 Montanans have died while serving in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps since the beginning of World War II, Tester noted.

The U.S. Navy is currently building a submarine which is scheduled for delivery in April of 2011.  Tester asked Winter to christen the submarine USS Montana in honor of the Montanans who have died in service to the Navy and Marine Corps.

"It is hard to believe that in 118 years of Montana's statehood we have never had a Navy vessel enter service bearing the name of the Big Sky State," Tester wrote.  "This measure, while small, would be a meaningful point of pride for the people of my state."