USS Montana Committee: Supporting SSN 794 for the Long-Term… (posted 10/8/22)

The USS Montana Committee is moving full speed ahead in transitioning to support the USS MONTANA (SSN 994) and her crew members over the warship’s entire service life.

Commissioning of the MONTANA into the U.S. Navy fleet has been accomplished.

USS MONTANA Commissioning. June 25, 2022 (Shelly Davis photo)
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte gives commissioning keynote address (Shelly Davis photo)
USS MONTANA plankowner plaque (Shelly Davis photo)

Unique “plankowner plaque” mementos were presented to all commissioning crew members at a picnic with familiies.

Miss Rodeo Montana Kayla Seaman with new commissioning friend (USSMTC photo)

The special Norfolk, Virginia, commemoration and celebration events for crew and Montanans are now wonderful memories.

And the USS Montana Committee during Commissioning Week modified its official vision/mission statement to support SSN 794 and all who sail aboard her in defense of our nation – with no event or time limit constraints.

At a recent Annual Meeting of Steering Group leaders, new members and a new director were chosen. In addition, initiatives were launched to realign resources and projects for the future.

Voted to join the Montana nonprofit corporation USS MONTANA Committee, Inc., Board of Directors as Vice Chairman was Brian Lipscomb of Polson, CEO of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ tribal company Energy Keepers. Brian has been an active Steering Group member, coordinating and implementing a number of projects leading to, and during, SSN 794’s commissioning. He joins Treasurer Steve Stahlberg of Kalispell and Chairman Bill Whitsitt of Bigfork on the Board. Previous Director and Vice Chairman Craig Anderson of Billings will remain as a much-appreciated Steering Group member.
New members of the Steering Group, the voting members of the corporation and key Board advisors from around Montana, are: Carol Bishop of Huson, Ron Davis of Butte, and Paul Guest of Bozeman. All have records of significant commitment and efforts in support of the Committee’s work. A full list of Steering Group members can be found on the website’s Committee page.

Among key take-aways from the Annual Meeting were: the exceptional relationship with the MONTANA leaders and crew since the Committee’s creation in 2017; being reminded of the exceptional SSN 794 crew that is now in mission-oriented training (with a separate News blog update on the crew coming soon); the Committee’s accomplishing its commissioning goals in meaningful and fun ways; the coordinated provision of a number of unique Montana-themed enhancements to living areas aboard the submarine (with more to come!); the crew visits coordinated and facilitated to all regions of Montana (with another just in the last month or so and, again, with more to come!); and the fundraising and financial discipline that have built a strong foundation for the Committee’s future.

Now work turns toward goal-setting and measurement, project identification, and budgeting for the next year and beyond.

Committee Chairman Bill Whitsitt explains that long-term support of the MONTANA and her crew members beyond commissioning has always been an ultimate goal. “We are pleased and proud to have been the official commissioning committee for our namesake submarine — and to have helped so many Montanans throughout Big Sky Country connect with crew members who feel their support”, said Whitsitt. “But the USS Montana Committee is more than the commissioning committee. Our work continues…”