What would the logo to best symbolize a Minnesota submarine look like? A loon diving underwater? A mosquito? An enemy entangled in Eurasian milfoil?
The Navy is commissioning a new submarine and it will be named the USS Minnesota, the first time since 1907 that a Navy ship has been named after the land of 10,000 lakes but no oceans. The commander of the sub will be in town Monday to promote a contest to design an insignia that will be on the uniforms of the crew and on the ship itself when it is expected to be commissioned in 2013.
The $2 billion Minnesota is being built in Newport News, Va. When it becomes seaworthy, the man who will be in charge of it, Cmdr. John Fancher, said it will be the "most modern, sophisticated submarine in the world," capable of extended undersea missions as well as close-in operation near coastlines.
It will have a crew of 135 and weigh 7,800 tons. To put things in perspective, it will be precisely as long as the distance from home plate to the left center field wall at Target Field.
"Even though you do have plenty of water, most of the lakes are not big enough for our kind of ships," Fancher said.
The last naval ship named after Minnesota was decommissioned in 1921. But there were other ships in the fleet with Minnesota connections. The USS Minneapolis-St. Paul submarine was decommissioned in August 2008.
The Minnesota's logo contest is launching with a special announcement by Cmdr. Fancher and several of his crew members at the Twins game Monday.
"This is going to be a part of the ship for the next 30-plus years for its entire life," Fancher said. "It gives the ship its battle cry."
The contest is open to students ages 16-22 and runs until Nov. 1. The winner will receive a $1,500 college scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to the commissioning ceremony. Students interested in the logo contest can find more information at www.ussminnesota.org.
Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434