A new nuclear attack submarine is only the second Navy vessel to bear the name North Dakota, and the second in command is the brother of a Luther Auto employee.
The Virginia-class U.S.S. North Dakota will soon depart with Chief of the Boat and Master Chief Electronic Technician Timothy A. Preabt, brother of Shawn Preabt, controller at Luther Family Buick GMC. Both have been promoting the sub’s debut as a source of great pride in the home of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Measuring 377 feet long and displacing 7,835 tons, the Tomahawk missile equipped unit has a crew of 138. The North Dakota is anti-submarine, anti-surface ship and counter-mine capable, and will support surveillance, Special Operations and covert strike missions, according to shipbuilder Electric Boat. With a $2.6 billion price tag, it took five years to build and never needs refueling.
Shawn Preabt said his brother is in charge of the crew and day-to-day operations, as well as preparing training, procedures and policies for the crew.
Shawn and his wife were on hand for the christening of the ship in early November, which drew an attendance of 4,500 to 5,000 people to Groton, Conn. North Dakota’s U.S. Senators were on hand, as was the governor. “There was a lot of energy, a lot of excitement,” said Shawn.
Chief Preabt was honored to serve as a grand marshall in a local North Dakota parade where he had marched 24 years earlier as a new Navy recruit.
The chief said the sub uses advanced technology and operates somewhat like a plane, with a pilot and co-pilot.
“When I retire, I hope to be a good ambassador for the ship, said Chief Preabt, who explained that it’s easy to be supportive of the boat when it’s fresh and new, but he also wants to stay connected later on to share his pride and show his support.
The last ship bearing the name North Dakota, a 20,000-ton Delaware class battleship, was commissioned in 1910 and was decommissioned in 1923.