Held to formally recognize the beginning of the construction process, the Keel Laying Ceremony marks one of the most monumental days in a ship’s life. On April 4, 2016 in Groton, CT, the USS SOUTH DAKOTA’S Commissioning Committee, South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds and other honorary guests joined the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Dempsey, as she etched her initials into the keel plate to verify it “has been truly and fairly laid.” With the ceremony held and assembly underway, the USS SOUTH DAKOTA (SSN 790) gets closer to patrolling the seas and defending our country with each passing day.