May 31, 2012

Navy secretary to commission submarine Mississippi

The Navy’s newest Virginia-class attack submarine Mississippi will be commissioned June 2, 2012, during a 10 a.m., CDT, ceremony at the Port of Pascagoula in Pascagoula, Miss.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Allison Stiller, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition she will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

The selection of Mississippi as the name for the submarine is dedicated to the state’s long-standing tradition of shipbuilding in support of our nation’s defense. It also honors the indomitable spirit of the people of Mississippi, who have made great strides in recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This fighting spirit will be an inspiration to all sailors who embark aboard Mississippi.

There have been four previous ships named Mississippi. The first Mississippi, a side wheeler, served as Commodore Matthew Perry’s flagship for his historic voyage to Japan and fought with Admiral Farragut’s forces on the Mississippi River during the Civil War. The second and third were battleships, a BB-23 in World War I and a BB-41 in World War II. The fourth Mississippi, a Virginia-class nuclear guided missile cruiser, was decommissioned in 1997.

Designated SSN 782, the ninth ship of the Virginia class, Mississippi is built to excel in antisubmarine warfare; antiship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Adept at operating in both the world’s shallow littoral regions and deep waters, Mississippi will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

Capt. John McGrath, a native of Neptune, N.J., and a 1990 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, will be the ship’s commanding officer, leading a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel.

The 7,800-ton Mississippi was built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics-Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industry-Newport News Shipbuilding and was delivered to the Navy one year ahead of contract schedule and under cost. Mississippi took just over 62 months to build, which set the record for the Virginia Class Submarine program’s fastest delivery.

The boat is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths of greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Mississippi is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship – reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

The commissioning will be aired live on the U.S. Navy’s Facebook page and Livestream channel beginning at 10 a.m., CDT. Join the conversation on Twitter #NewMiss.

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