PCU North Dakota Brings Holiday Cheer to a Groton Childcare Facility
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- For the second consecutive year, the crew of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota (SSN 784) is combining forces to help out the local community by donating toys to a local childcare facility this holiday season.
The holiday gift-giving idea was created by Electronics Technician Seaman Apprentice Lucas Pickering and other members of the submarine's crew who volunteer in the local community.
"We are collecting toys donated at both the kid's holiday party and the crew's holiday party this December," said Pickering.
Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine will present the toys to a low-income childcare facility in Groton. The Riverfront Children's Center provides affordable childcare and educational services for more than 100 children of families who are underemployed and working poor. The center is located in proximity to where the submarine is currently under construction at General Dynamics Electric Boat.
"Since Riverfront is so close to where our boat is being constructed, we wanted to give back to the local community, especially the children," said Pickering.
Master Chief Electronic Technician (SS) Tim Preabt, PCU North Dakota chief of the boat, said this initiative was 100 percent Sailor driven.
"Last year our crew donated nearly 200 toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Program, and our Sailors wanted to continue the tradition of supporting the local community, especially during the holidays," said Preabt. "This year our Sailors rose again to the challenge and came up with the idea to support this worthy foundation."
PCU North Dakota, the second ship named in honor of North Dakota, will be delivered by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton and will be the 11th Virginia-class submarine - and the first of the Block III contract - when it is commissioned in 2014.
The only other ship to bear the name North Dakota was the Delaware-class battleship USS North Dakota (BB 29), which was in service from 1910 to 1923.
Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; irregular; and mine warfare missions; as well as support special operation forces; and covert intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.