Treasure State readies for commissioning of USS Montana

Phil Drake

Nearly 100 Montanans are expected to soon be en route to Norfolk, Virginia, for Saturday’s commissioning of the submarine currently known as PCU Montana SSN 794, making it the USS Montana and the first Navy ship named after the Treasure State in more than 100 years.

Bill Whitsitt, chair and director of the USS Montana Committee, said he and the committee are looking forward to the big day at the Naval Station Norfolk when the ship is placed into active service.

“We are going to have a great time and very meaningful time,” he said.

But it won’t be the USS Montana in name only, as the entire $2.6 billion, 7,800-ton Virginia-class submarine built by Newport News Shipbuilding – Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Electric Boat will have a Montana theme. Passageways are named for Montana rivers, such as the Missouri, Flathead, Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison and Yellowstone.

And the lowest part of the boat, which has one hallway, is called Bitterroot, Whitsitt said.

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Berthing areas, where sailors sleep, are named for Montana places and towns such as Helena and Kalispell.

And there will be other Montana touches throughout

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