In just a few short months, the Navy’s newest Virginia Class submarine will gain a name. When the boat’s sponsor, Mrs. Dempsey, smashes a bottle of South-Dakota-made sparkling wine on its bow, SSN-790 will officially be christened the USS South Dakota, marking the third vessel in our country’s history to bear the name. The christening is an important tradition and a monumental day for all involved – similar ceremonies have been practiced since our country’s inception, with former First Ladies and numerous other notable women sponsoring ships and participating in the festivities. After the boat is christened, it will begin sea trials, where crew members will perform rigorous tests to ensure it’s ready to officially join the Navy’s fleet.

The USS South Dakota crew poses at the site of SSN 790’s construction in Groton, CT.