By Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division
The naval history of Minnesota is a long and prestigious one. It could be argued that Minnesotans have a natural calling to water purely because of their proximity to so many lakes. With one boat per every six people, “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” has more recreational boaters per capita than any other state in the union!
No fewer than 38 ships have been named after Minnesota, its cities, places, and people. Three have been named after the state itself, including one battleship USS Minnesota (BB 22), commissioned in 1907, that sailed as part of the Great White Fleet, and a Virginia-class submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) commissioned in 2012.
Prominent Minnesotans to serve in the U.S. Navy include Capt. Franklin Van Valkenburgh, a Minneapolis native and Medal of Honor recipient killed during the Pearl Harbor raid on Dec. 7, 1941. Additionally, St. Paul native Capt. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper wore Navy blue and gold before becoming an astronaut and completing two space flights as a mission specialist.
Check out our infographic for more information on the Sailors, ships, and places in Minnesota with ties to naval history and heritage!