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John Lamb, Published February 07 2012

Lamb: North Dakota on a sub-mission to find good crest

The USS North Dakota is looking for an image.

Sure, we know what the state-of-the-art submarine already looks like. The basic exterior design of a sub hasn’t changed much over the years.

It has a sleek, strong body able to cut through the ocean at 25 knots (28.769 miles per hour) and dive over 800 feet.

But the nuclear sub is missing one thing – a crest.

The USS North Dakota Committee is asking people of all ages throughout the state to design a logo of sorts for the vessel, scheduled to hit the water next year.

The final decision will come from the Navy and the crew of the USS North Dakota, but the USSND committee wants to see what the locals have in mind.

“The residents of our state are best suited to suggest designs for the USS North Dakota that carry significance for the state,” committee chairman Robert Wefald said in a press release. “Whether it’s a reflection of the agriculture or energy industry, tourism or geography, the crest should share with the world a piece of North Dakota.”

Kudos to Wefald for sticking up for the fact that the people of our land-locked Peace Garden State know what will look good on a nuclear sub. I take it, however, he didn’t see the recent, “legendary” flop of a ND Tourism spot attempting to portray the state’s nightlife.

No worries though, I don’t think anyone will submit an image of slack-jawed sailors looking out a portal at a school of flirty mermaids.

The release says similar vessels honor their namesake states, like the USS Missouri featuring the St. Louis Arch and the USS Minnesota paying tribute to Viking heritage. Thankfully, it doesn’t honor the sports team, though the crest does look an awful lot like a Roller Derby logo.

The USS Minnesota design, by a 17-year-old, shows a Viking, superimposed over a blue anchor, wrapped around a maroon puck, over a different shade of blue silhouetting the state. On top of it all is a submarine with a fish painted on the bow.

The composition has a lot of layers – both figuratively and literally. The blue represents the water the sub will cut through and the color in the state flag. The maroon is for the University of Minnesota. The fish is a walleye, the state fish, though it looks more like a Japanese illustration of a piranha painted on a mid-’70s van.

Yeah, Minnesota looks tough, so how does North Dakota top that?

Instead of blue, our main color will be green, symbolizing not only our proud agricultural tradition, but also our two major universities and our neighborly envy at Minnesota for having such a boss logo.

But we won’t settle for a symbol that’s fit to be hooked and fried. We’ll have a bison, head down and charging, snorting out plumes of smoke, symbolizing the natural energy resources in the western part of the state.

And a good crest needs a good slogan. Perhaps co-opting our adoptive son’s popular phrase with a submarine movie: “Run silent and carry a big torpedo.”

Or maybe, “Dive. Decide. Destroy. Come for a fight, lay on the ocean floor a legend.”

It’ll sound cooler in Latin.

What’s your idea? Send designs to the USS North Dakota Committee c/o the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce, 1640 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, N.D. 58503, or email to dotf@bismarckmandan.com, by March 15, 2012.

For more information, visit www.bismarckmandan.com/ussnorthdakota.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533