A special feature of this year’s program will be an honor-ringing of the ship’s bell that will be aboard the future USS MONTANA (SSN 794), a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine that will join the Navy fleet in 2022. The bell is currently on tour throughout Montana. It will be presented by the USS Montana Committee to the warship at its commissioning next year.
The ship’s bell is a submarine-sized replica of the bell that was aboard the only other ship named the USS MONTANA, Armored Cruiser Number 13 commissioned in 1908. However, the new bell is also unique in powerful ways. Most important, it symbolizes the connection between our state motto, Oro y Plata, Gold and Silver, and the U.S. Navy. Melted into the bell’s metal are gold and silver dolphin pins worn by qualified submariners, gold by officers and silver by enlisted sailors. Also melted into the bell are real Montana gold and silver elements from the Butte and Philipsburg areas of the Treasure State. Prominent on the bell is the emblem of the new MONTANA – symbolizing many elements of Montana’s history, culture and values. Among the emblem’s depictions is a snarling grizzly bear, our state animal, escorting the submarine in its bow wave. Eagle feathers represent the proud warrior heritage of our Native American brothers and sisters, and their honoring of all veterans. And there is much more that will inspire crew members of the USS MONTANA throughout her service life.
The USS Montana Committee, Inc., is a Montana nonprofit corporation designated as the official commissioning committee of the future USS MONTANA. The committee has a mission of supporting the crew members of Montana’s namesake warship, building and maintaining relationships between them and all Montanans as the USS MONTANA guards our nation in dangerous places for decades into the future.