The US Navy saw fit to name only one of its 33 Los Angeles-class submarines after two cities when commissioning the USS Minneapolis-St Paul (SSN-708). Submarines get attention. This one is a unique symbol and should be saved. But “The Mighty MSP” is headed for the almighty scrap heap—next year—unless a local group called the Minnesota Submarine League is able to build support and bring declassified structures of the historic vessel here to Minnesota.
Minnesota’s Submarine League was just informed last week that the former Minneapolis-Saint Paul is now in the recycling process and next up in the demolition queue. Meaning, the asset will be scrapped in 2021. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the state to own a cultural icon of economic value to the future will be lost.
The group anticipated they would have more time to build support and raise funds for a futuristic sea-services center, showcasing Minnesota’s creativity and benefitting all maritime veterans and occupations: Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marines. The expo will feature “the sail,” i.e. the submarine’s bridge and conning tower, and rudder in a bow wave pool as if underway. The best part of the plan: The Navy will hand over the asset for the weighty sum of $1.00.
The USS New Jersey battleship is now in Camden, New Jersey. The USS Iowa is represented as a 1/4-scale model in the Iowa State Capitol in an award-winning exhibit for tour. With a little bit of work, this Minnesota namesake can be available to the public somewhere close to the borders of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Why not at the Minnesota State Fair? Or in the World’s Fair Expo 2027 bid? One high-tech design challenge turns a new state icon into an immersive virtual-reality experience for everyone, all year round.
Those who remember Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea will appreciate the idea.