Leidiger to lead officials on USS Minnesota trip

A3-LeidigerSubmarine2CMYKState Representative Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer, is leading a delegation of state officials to Norfolk, Va., for the commissioning of the USS Minnesota, the United States Navy’s newest fast attack submarine.
The ship will be commissioned into use at Naval Station Norfolk on Sept. 7, and the delegation will support, honor, and send off the crew of 135 sailors and witness the historic occasion of the shipyard turning over the vessel to the Navy for operations.
Leidiger says the Minnesota delegation of about 70 people, including 24 state lawmakers, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, guests, private citizens, and many members of the Twin Cities chapter of the U.S. Navy League, will witness history as the most advanced warship ever enters active service. The last Navy vessel to bear the name “Minnesota” was a battleship commissioned over one hundred years ago.
“It is an honor and a privilege to take part in this ceremony and to support the brave men and women who will operate this fine vessel. The Navy protects our sea lines of communication, keeps peace on the high seas for trade, and is ready to project power in almost all areas of the world if need be. As a Minnesotan, I am proud that the most advanced warship on the face of the earth is named after our great state,” said Leidiger, a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander and member of the State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs committee.
Construction of the USS Minnesota began in February 2008, and the ship bears the motto “From The North, Power.” The 377-foot submarine is capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots (30 miles per hour) and can stay submerged for up to three months at a time. It was built for increased firepower, maneuverability, and stealth.
Leidiger notes that no state funds are going toward the trip, and all attendees will cover their own transportation and lodging costs for the occasion. He gives credit to the Navy League of the United States — Twin Cities Council for its instrumental role in organizing the trip.
To learn more about the USS Minnesota and the Twin Cities chapter of the Navy League, visit www.ussminnesotassn783.com. Donations are being accepted online by the Navy League to support the commissioning ceremony.