ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The last time the U.S. Navy had a ship named after the gopher state Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House. In 1905, the coal-burning battleship USS Minnesota entered the fleet. It would eventually see service in World War I and was finally decommissioned in 1922.

Fast forward a full century and soon 120 submariners will be cruising around in the latest class of nuclear powered subs. The USS Minnesota is now under construction in Newport News, Va. and is scheduled for commissioning in late 2013.

When it takes to the seas it will be in the hands of Navy Commander John Fancher.

“When we’re going around the world and we’re trying to remember what we’re doing it for, one of the things we’re doing it for is the support that we get from the state,” Fancher explained.

On the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol, Fancher would visit the state and perform a swear-in ceremony for eight of the Navy’s newest recruits. Standing tall and raising her right hand was Bloomington’s Amanda Matson.

“I’d absolutely love to be assigned on the USS Minnesota to show I’m from Minnesota and that I’d like to show ’em what we’re about,” Matson said.

Matson will soon enter a U.S. Navy that can claim the most sophisticated fleet of submarines ever built. The Minnesota, now under construction, will become number 10 of 30 Virginia Class fast-attack subs.

While it has its name, the Minnesota is still lacking a proper logo. That’s important, because it is the patch worn by sailors on their uniforms and will become the identifying image of the submarine.

To get the design process started Fancher will announce a contest at Monday’s Minnesota Twins game against the Red Sox.

High school and college students, ages 16 to 22, will have until Nov. 1 to give the USS Minnesota an emblem fitting of its pride and prestige. It should capture the essence of what makes the state so unique.

The submarine’s second in command is a Minnesota-native from the town of Brandon near Alexandria. He understands the importance of designing the logo.

“We’re looking for creative license to again take aspects of Minnesota that represent the state and merge it with Navy traditions. So just about anything goes,” said Lt. Cmdr. Craig Hempeck.

To see the rules of the competition and to learn more about the USS Minnesota visit the submarine’s website by clicking here.

Comments (14)
  1. KeepItReal says:

    Sure how about a drawing of a bunch of big svergie cry-baby liberals, blaming everything on others, while the world burns. That’s about right!

    1. March113 says:

      I love this comment.

      1. Ignorance is a gift for some I guess. says:

        “Sure how about a drawing of a bunch of big svergie cry-baby liberals, blaming everything on others, while the world burns. That’s about right!”

        This statement is filled with irony and ignorance.
        1. What is a svergie?
        2. If you make a statement that has someone blaming everything on others, then you are putting the blame on them and in doing so, you become what you are calling others.
        3.When insulting others, stupidity and ignorance severely take away from the message that you are trying to get out. Not that there was much to take from this in the first place.
        4. This story was supposed to be uplifting that MN is getting recognized again and you chose to use it as a insult instead. As a former service member this is insulting and I would assume that all that have served would be just as mad as I am that you would turn this into political mudslinging. Cry-baby liberals huh, looks like you were the first to start crying here as far as I see.

        Best part is you have another helmet wearing fan that is claiming they love it. Both of you are sad pathetic little creatures. Point fingers without anything to back up a claim and just spewing hate and stupidity. My favorite part about this is “while the world burns”, where are the flames? You have your head so far up your a$$ that you can’t see any flames, but if it smells like burning up there, may want to change your diet.

        1. KeepItReal says:

          I know I am mentally challenged and have not concept of what a majority is, this is why I complain about being in the minority. You see MN has always had a record of being a Liberal state and this is something I do not like. So instead of accepting this or moving to another state that is more accommodating to my political beliefs I would rather spend my time complaining about things that the vast majority of my statesmen agree with and like. I really cannot stand when nobody wants to change because I said we should and have no idea or information that the change that I complain about would benefit myself or anyone else for that matter. Well mom is calling me to lunch so I better go before I am grounded.

  2. Patrick says:

    A drawing contest for students aged 16 to 22. Can you say recruitment stunt?

    1. Navy League says:

      Patrick – thanks for your comment.

      The purpose of the contest is to actually develop a logo for Pre-commissioning Unit MINNESOTA SSN 783. I know this because I’m on the team that developed the web site and the schedule for the crew visit.

      But if someone wants to join the United States Navy due to our efforts here, we think that is a great thing. Service with our military is honorable and no greater calling. Even though this is a US Navy warship, this is about the entire state, and every veteran from each branch of our military. Hoohah MINNESOTA!

  3. Shizzy says:

    Or a picture of a government official, reaching into a tax payers pocket and stealing money!

    1. Navy League says:


      Thank you for your comment. Please know that what you suggest would not fall under ‘Navy Traditions’ we are looking for in our entries.

      Have a great Navy day!

  4. la de da says:

    Or a bunch of idiots voting for the same ol fools over and over again.

  5. Jim says:

    Poor squids. That’s like carrying the name Wellstone or Perpich or Dayton.

  6. fred says:

    how about a logo of gang bangers standing on a welcome mat.

  7. Kate says:

    Quit it with the negative comments because this is a great opportunity for the future’s artists to expand their portfolio with something special. Goodness this is about representing who we are as a state and what we have to offer not our political standing.

    1. Navy League says:


      Thank you for your comments. We in the Navy League Twin Cities Council appreciate your support, and please know that the top entries will all be acknowledged on, and we hope in the commissioning ceremony program. We encourage students to use this contest to develop their portfolios.

  8. Navy League says:

    It’s unfortunate that such comments are left here.

    The only reason for this contest is this – the ship needs a logo.

    I know – because I’m on the team that designed the contest and the web site.

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