USS South Dakota (SSN) Commissioned

The newest Virginia-class attack submarine, USS South Dakota (SSN 790), will be commissioned at Groton, Connecticut, Feb. 2, 2019. It will be the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet.


As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, the submarine can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities. South Dakota is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of Special Operations Forces (SOF), strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare. 

South Dakota is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. South Dakota features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

See more at official USS South Dakota (SSN 790) website.


Captain David Witte (ret.)


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Captain David Witte (ret.) passed away peacefully Wednesday, January 2, 2019 with his wife and youngest daughter by his side. He was 93. Captain Witte was President of the Battleship South Dakota Memorial Foundation for 22 years.

David A. Witte was born March 28, 1925 in Sioux Falls to Frederick and Margaret (Pier) Witte. He attended Mark Twain Grade School and graduated from Washington High School in 1942.

Following high school, he joined the US Navy and served for 3 years during WWII. He later served during the Korean War for 3 years. He was in the Naval Reserve for 26 years retiring with a total of 31 years with the rank of Captain. David graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also had a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota.

David lived a full and happy life that was dedicated to loving his family and serving his country and city. He was kind, compassionate, and always had a smile to share. David always found the good in everything and everyone and truly had the gift of being an eternal optimist. He thoroughly enjoyed his time with Betty and his family, and was extremely proud of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. His love, work ethic, ingenuity, and generosity will forever remain an inspiration to his family. 



Contact Information

Memorial Site:
12th & Kiwanis
P.O. Box 2974
Sioux Falls, SD 57101_2974

9:30 am - 5:30 pm
May 1 thru September 30
7 Days a Week


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2nd Generation Newsletter

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Board of Directors

Diane Diekman, President
Harlan Bedford, Vice President
Rollyn Samp, Secretary
Daryl Skancke
Karen Dunham
Harry Engberg
Edward Hruska
Larry Panning