Tomorrow in Norfolk, Va., the USS Minnesota will be officially commissioned and become part of the US fleet.
This will be the third Navy vessel to be named after our state. This one is a state of the art nuclear submarine, designed for the military needs of the post-Cold War world. Capt. John Fancher will be the officer in charge on the submarine.
Here's some Navy video of the new Minnesota's sea trials. (Story continues below.)
According to the Navy, the Virginia-class sub is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. Its designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
That's a huge leap in technology from the original USS Minnesota, which was a wooden steam frigate launched in 1855 and named after the Minnesota River -- it would be three years until Minnesota became a state. The ship visited ports in Japan, China and Hong Kong in 1857.
During the Civil War, the Minnesota was the flagship of the Union's Atlantic Blockading Squadron. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, seven African-American sailors manned the ship's forward gun.
The Minnesota's most enduring place in history is as a witness to the battle of the Ironclads on March 8 and 9, 1862. The Confederate ship, Virginia, demonstrated the deadly efficacy of iron-plated ships when it destroyed two wooden Union ships off the coast of Virginia. While joining the battle, the Minnesota was damaged and ran aground. Darkness prevented Virginia from destroying Minnesota that day. During the night, a first Union ironclad ship arrived on the scene, concealing itself behind Minnesota until Virginia resumed its attack in the morning. The two iron ships fought to a draw and withdrew, allowing Minnesota to be pulled to safety.
The second USS Minnesota was a 16,000-ton Connecticut class battleship commissioned in 1907. It spent two years circumnavigating the globe with 15 other Navy ships as part of the "Great White Fleet", a peacetime show of American strength and goodwill - and a chance for the Navy to test new technologies on the open ocean.
During World War I, Minnesota served as a training ship until it was damaged by a German mine in 1918. It was repaired and continued as a training vessel until it was decommissioned in 1921. It was dismantled and sold for scrap in 1924.