God speed, great warship of the deep,

entrusted by our Motherland

to protect its shores

while our children sleep.

For the odyssey ahead will

demand much from commander and crew,

gallant sailors chosen from the special few.

May you be inspired by those

who fought so honorably before

aboard the USS South Dakota,

feared Battleship X,

decorated for its heroic engagements

during the Second World War.

God speed, valiant sentry of the deep,

commissioned to protect our homeland

while our children sleep.

To your namesake’s legacy

may you always be true,

with stealth and tenacity

bravely perform the missions

commanded of you.

Forthwith let the annals of naval history

chronicle your service with distinction,

for you must know, SSN 790,

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that you have the trust of a grateful nation.

God speed, mighty vessel of the deep,

vanquish, if necessary,

dark forces that threaten America

while our children sleep.

From the Great State of South Dakota,

home of Mt. Rushmore,

with its iconic symbols of liberty

chiseled in stone,

accept this prayerful declaration.

If, in the service of our country,

perils of war put you in harm’s way,

may you be inspired by Crazy Horse,

who fought bravely,

impervious to enemy fire,

and, guided by the spirit of Black Elk,

forget not that for which you stand,

rock solid in the service of our nation,

knowing you are in the thoughts and prayers

of a free homeland.

Brian D. Hagg

U.S. Army 1969 — 1982

Rapid City, South Dakota

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