The Mandan Progress Organization celebrated its 20th anniversary Monday at the Seven Seas.

It announced that members of the USS North Dakota Committee will act as marshals for the 2013 Independence Day Parade during Mandan Rodeo Days.

The submarine will represent the first ship to be named after the state since 1910, said Bob Wefald, chairman of the USS North Dakota Committee. The first USS North Dakota, a battleship, was commissioned from 1910 to 1923. The nuclear-powered USS North Dakota submarine is scheduled to be commissioned from 2014 to 2047.

The submarine USS North Dakota is scheduled to have its frame substantially welded by early February, be christened this September and be commissioned sometime in the summer of 2014, Wefald said.

Wefald said it is the intent of the committee that the state have a “lifelong relationship with the members of the crew” for the 33 years it is scheduled to be commissioned. He said when available, crew members will be asked to participate in events around the state. “We also want people to visit the ship,” he said. He said the Independence Day parade in Mandan was part of the effort to raise awareness about the submarine and keep that relationship.

The MPO was founded in 1993. Its mission is to create and promote public events and projects to enhance Mandan’s business climate and generate community pride.

It co-organizes the Buggies-n-Blues classic car and music festival June 8-9, Mandan Rodeo Days July 1-4, the Grill Fest Aug. 16-17 and October Fest Sept. 28-29.

Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.

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