Updated: 05/13/2014 1:49 PM
Created: 05/13/2014 12:01 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
Navy League Minnesota has created a University of Minnesota scholarship fund for family of USS Minnesota crew members.
The USS Minnesota joined the Navy's fleet of attack submarines in September 2013 during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. The commissioning ceremony attracted a delegation of 70 Minnesotans, including the state's two U.S. Senators and two dozen state lawmakers who all paid their own way to the ceremony.
During the commissioning, the Navy league raised $70,000 for scholarship efforts, and the U of M Foundation added $10,000 to the fund. Navy League Minnesota will keep raising money to increase the size of the scholarship.
Initially, the Navy League of the Twin Cities hoped to get a $200,000 commitment from the legislature to help give the commissioning ceremony a distinct Minnesota flavor. They came close, but in last-minute negotiating the money was removed from a budget bill last spring.
Some of the money funded by the legislature would have been added to the scholarship, meaning it would have been larger or there would have been a second scholarship. However, 100 percent of the money was raised through private contributions, Navy League Minnesota officials said.
Priorities for the scholarship are crew members, former crew members, or dependents of USS Minnesota. It will also be open to U of M Naval ROTC student and U.S. Navy veterans.
About USS Minnesota
Minnesota was built in Virginia under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Construction began in February 2008, and the building team delivered the submarine in just over five years in June 2013, 11 months ahead of schedule.
The submarine is the third Navy ship to bear the name Minnesota, with the first being a steam frigate during the Civil War and the second a battleship that is part of the “Great White Fleet” President Theodore Roosevelt ordered to sail around the world.
The Minnesota is the 10th Virginia class submarine, which was specifically designed for the post-Cold War era. Virginia class submarines like the Minnesota are especially maneuverable in shallow waters and were designed with plenty of room for Special Forces and their equipment to come aboard.
More than 130 sailors operate the 377-foot-long vessel, which is capable of diving to depths greater than 800 feet and operating at speeds in excess of 25 knots when submerged.
USS Minnesota is now at its permanent homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was the only Minnesota media allowed aboard the sub for a two-day visit in August 2013 as the 7,800 ton submarine headed out to sea. Watch the exclusive coverage here.