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Dale Wetzel, Associated Press, Published August 24 2012

'Simply beautiful' crest for new USS North Dakota sub unveiled

BISMARCK, N.D. — A new nuclear attack submarine that's named for North Dakota got its official crest Friday, less than two years before the $2.6 billion vessel is to be put into service.

The crest, which is the ship's official emblem, has the shape of a bulbous arrowhead, is flanked by wheat stalks and includes a pair of crossed revolvers and tomahawks. The sub itself is shown against a background of a dusky blue sky and the constellation Orion.

Two green banners, which share the school colors of North Dakota's two largest universities, have the state's motto, “Strength from the Soil,” and the slogan “Reapers of the Deep.”

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and Robert Wefald, a retired North Dakota district judge and former state attorney general, unveiled the crest Friday during a ceremony at the North Dakota Capitol.

Wefald, a Navy veteran, has been a longtime promoter of having a new naval vessel named for North Dakota. The only other ship to bear the state's name was a World War I-era battleship, which was taken out of service in 1923 and later sold for scrap. A silhouette of the first USS North Dakota is depicted on the new crest.

“I think it's simply beautiful, and I think it's a great, great thing,” Wefald said.

More than 100 proposed designs for the crest were submitted after a committee that is promoting the new submarine asked for ideas in February. Wefald said the final work incorporated many of the design concepts that were offered.

The crest will be put on the submarine's bow and will be used in making souvenir-type items promoting the vessel, such as baseball caps, polo shirts and jackets, Wefald said. It will not be put on uniforms.

The submarine is being built in Connecticut and Virginia. It is scheduled to be put into service by mid-2014. It is 377 feet long, which is half again as long as the North Dakota Capitol is tall, and will have a crew of 120 sailors and 15 officers.

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