More than 120 Montanans, including Gov. Greg Gianforte, volunteer members of the USS Montana Committee and representatives from Montana Tribes attended the commission of the USS Montana.

The USS Montana is the country’s newest nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, and was commissioned by the US Navy in Norfolk, Virginia.

The commissioning began with the ringing of the Oro y Plata Ship’s Bell followed by the Flag Song performed by the Brothers Drum group from the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes.

The vessel’s namesake state is honored throughout its interior. Passageways are named after Montana rivers, berthing areas where sailors sleep are named for Montana places and towns, and the crew dining area is called the Big Sky Saloon.

The 7,800-ton multi-mission submarine is designed to support several missions and is equipped with the latest technologies to offer increased firepower, maneuverability and stealth. The submarine can remain submerged for months at a time. It is expected to serve the country for more than three decades.

Built by Newport News Shipbuilding – Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Electric Boat, construction of the vessel started in 2015 and was launched into the James River in March 2021. Sea trials were completed earlier this year.

The nonprofit USS Montana Committee has raised more than $200,000 for work completed to date, projects contemplated yet this year, and to lay a foundation for the Committee’s long-term support of the USS Montana and crew nicknamed “Vigilantes of the Deep.”

The USS Montana is the second US Navy vessel bearing the state’s name. The first USS Montana was an armored cruiser added to the US Navy fleet in 1908 and decommissioned in 1921.