Montanans are getting their first look at the future USS MONTANA with its hull sections welded together.
The photo was shown to members of the Western Montana Military officers Association as part of an update presentation by the USS Montana Committee.
Other first-look photos show work now being done on the interior of the boat.
The MONTANA’s commanding officer, Commander Michael Delaney, notes that the hull section joining marks an important step toward the boat’s being waterborne later this year.
By way of background, Virginia Class nuclear-powered fast attack submarines like MONTANA have hull sections manufactured in Virginia and Connecticut. They are barged to the other location and put together alternately in each place. The MONTANA has come together at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
The nuclear power plant of Montana’s namesake warship was installed and fueled for the 30-plus-year life of the boat last year. The Engineering Department that operates the plant has been standing watch 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, and will continue to do for the next three decades.
In addition to the construction progress – now at 76.4 percent of completion – CDR Delaney says that his crew is almost to full strength. There are 132 Sailors representing 32 states assigned to MONTANA – with four from the Treasure State.
Delaney is proud of his crew’s accomplishments, with twelve having earned promotions for November of this year, and two enlisted personnel being commissioned through the Navy’s Limited Duty Officer program.
The crew achievements include one that warms hearts in the Flathead Valley.
Culinary Specialist (Submarines) First Class Marlon Haughton won the annual Army/Navy Pennsylvania Farm Show Cook-Off recently.
Marlon was one of the crew members who visited Montana last summer, from Arlee to Kalispell and Glacier National Park. In Bigfork he stepped in to help grill salmon at a welcoming reception for the crew. Those who were there were delighted, and hope Marlon and his family come back to visit.
This year will be a busy one for the crew. CDR Delaney says that training will be ramping up to prepare for the boat’s first at-sea testing period in 2021.
Christening of MONTANA at Newport News Shipbuilding is likely to be in late summer or early fall of this year.
Commissioning into the fleet — the highlight of a Navy ship’s service life and perhaps the most memorable event in the career of a Sailor assigned to it at that time – may be late next year.
The USS Montana Committee will continue to provide event schedule updates as they are available. At the appropriate times we’ll also provide information on how Montanans can attend important events over the next couple of years.
In the meantime, if an organization in Montana – volunteer, business, or other – would like a presentation on the future USS MONTANA and the USS Montana Committee, simply let us know through the Contact page of the www.ussmontanahttps://ussmontanacommittee.us/ committee,us website.