GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The seventh submarine of the Virginia class will officially join the U.S. Navy fleet when Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780) is commissioned during a ceremony July 31 at 11 a.m. at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.
Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State."
The last Missouri, the legendary battleship, was the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and many other U.S. and Allied officers accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II Sept. 2, 1945.
The 7,800-ton submarine Missouri is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News, Va. At 377-feet long, Missouri is slightly longer than a football field and has a 34-foot beam. Missouri will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Missouri is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing underway time.
Missouri reached several milestones on her journey toward commissioning. Construction began in December 2004; the submarine's keel was authenticated during a ceremony Sept. 27, 2008, at the General Dynamics Electric Boat facility in North Kingstown, R.I.; and, Missouri was christened during a late morning ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat Dec. 5, 2009.
Another milestone occurred April 16 during "In Service Day," when crew members moved aboard the submarine, bringing her systems to life, beginning general day-to-day operations and preparing for sea-trials, work-ups and commissioning.
Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode is the commanding officer of Missouri, the seventh ship of the Virginia class. He leads a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. A native of Spencer, W.Va., Rexrode graduated with honors in 1990 from West Virginia University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering. In addition, Rexrode is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, holding a master's degree in military studies. Rexrode also received a master's degree in administration from Central Michigan University.
Becky Gates, wife of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, serves as the submarine's sponsor. She broke the traditional champagne bottle against the boat's sail during the christening ceremony in December 2009. Her initials were welded into a plaque inside the boat during last year's keel laying ceremony.
Missouri is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship 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, Missouri will directly enable five of the six Navy Maritime Strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.
The USS Missouri Commissioning Committee, an IRS-designated 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, was created to increase awareness of the submarine's commissioning. The committee offers information about the development of the submarine, as well as history on former Navy ships named for the "Show Me State."
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.