USA: Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota COB Conducts First Namesake Visit


The chief of the boat (COB) assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota (SSN 784) is participating in his first namesake visit to bring awareness to the Virginia class submarine, Oct. 20-23.

PCU North Dakota’s Chief of the Boat Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS/DV) Timothy A. Preabt, originally from Minot, N.D., will meet with Bismarck Mayor John Warford; Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling; the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce and other related activities during his three-day visit.

PCU North Dakota, the second ship named in honor of the “friendliest” state, is being constructed at General Dynamics Electric Boat. It will be the 11th Virginia-class submarine in the submarine force’s fleet.

Preabt reflected on the importance of the visit. “I am extremely honored to be the first chief of the boat of the PCU North Dakota. I have always been proud of my home state and was excited to hear that North Dakota would have a Virginia class submarine with her name,” said Preabt.

Preabt’s extended family and that of his wife’s still reside in North Dakota. When the idea of a namesake visit was suggested, Preabt wanted to participate in the visit to bring awareness to the Virginia class submarine.

“I wanted to take part in this namesake visit prior to arriving in New London, Conn., to spread the word about the construction of PCU North Dakota and my role as the chief of the boat,” said Preabt.

It’s fitting for Preabt, who left North Dakota in 1989 after graduating from Mandan High School, to be representing his namesake state as his final chapter in the U.S. Navy.

“I joined the Navy in May of 1989 the day after graduating from high school. My boot camp company was a North Dakota centennial company, which marched in the North Dakota centennial parade in Mandan,” said Preabt.
Prior to taking this assignment, Preabt was preparing for another chapter in his life to begin, but through his wife’s encouragement decided to accept the orders to PCU North Dakota as their first COB.

“My original plan was to retire at the end of my COB tour aboard the Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) and to move on to another chapter of my life after the Navy. My wife was the one who encouraged me to be the first COB of the PCU North Dakota,” said Preabt. “This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity; one, that if missed, I most definitely would have regretted.”

With 22 years of service under his belt, Preabt is bringing his formidable experience with him as he steps into the role of COB for PCU North Dakota.

“As a second term COB with over 22 years of naval service and having just taken the USS Key West through an extended engineered overhaul availability, I know the challenges of working in the shipyard environment.

I also know what is required to balance the command’s mission and the quality-of-life for the 135 officers and crew of the PCU North Dakota,” said Preabt.

While Preabt may be one of the first Sailors from North Dakota actually assigned to PCU North Dakota, he reflects on his path ahead and Sailors he will lead.

“My goal in the Navy was to become the chief of the boat of a fast attack submarine. The COB position is the most challenging and rewarding job in the Navy,” said Preabt. “I know that the future Sailors of the PCU North Dakota will represent the Navy, submarine force and the people of North Dakota with honor, courage, and commitment.”

Preabt added that he looks forward to working with his Prospective Commanding Officer of PCU North Dakota Cmdr. Doug Gordon, who is reporting from Commander Submarine Squadron 15 in Guam. Gordon will report to the PCU North Dakota in January of 2012.

PCU North Dakota will be the second ship of the U.S. Navy to be named for the state of North Dakota. The first ship to bear the name North Dakota was the Delaware-class USS North Dakota, which was in service from 1910 to 1923. The contract to build PCU North Dakota was awarded to Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Groton, Conn., on Aug. 14, 2003.

Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.

Source: navy, October 21, 2011