State launches state bell tour for USS Montana

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Gov. Greg Gianforte, left, and Senate President Mark Blasdel ring the replica USS Montana submarine bell during a ceremony at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record PHIL DRAKE

Several people gathered Wednesday at the Capitol to celebrate a nuclear-powered U.S. Navy submarine that will bear the state’s name and carry a crew of honorary Montanans.

A bell for the USS Montana — the first Navy vessel to be named after the state since 1908 — was unveiled at the event that marked the beginning of a nearly yearlong series of presentations with the bell throughout Montana.

“This is a great day,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said, noting the Treasure State has a proud history of military service.

“Veterans are part of the fabric of our state and our communities,” he said.

Gianforte said Capt. Michael Delaney, commanding officer of USS Montana, who was participating online, was an “excellent choice” to be the submarine’s first commander.

Capt. Michael Delaney, commanding

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