NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (NNS) -- Electric Boat Corporation hosted a keel laying ceremony June 9 for Virginia-class submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mississippi (SSN 782) at the company's Quonset Point facility in North Kingstown, R.I.
Allison Stiller, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Ship Programs, is the ship's sponsor and served as keel authenticator for the ceremony.
"Mississippi, in native folklore, means 'Father of the Waters,'" said Stiller. "What a fitting name for a submarine. I'm truly honored and humbled to be Mississippi's sponsor."
Stiller authenticated Mississippi's stern unit by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Electric Boat Welder Scott Fanning welded the initials into the plate, which will be permanently attached to the submarine's hull prior to delivery to the Navy.
Rear Adm. William H. Hilarides, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Submarines, spoke about the success of the shipbuilders.
"Mississippi is well on her way to begin sea trials earlier [than previous Virginia-class submarines]," said Hilarides. "To all of you shipbuilders in the audience, thank you for your service to your country."
Mississippi is the ninth ship of the Virginia-class and the fifth Navy vessel to be named for the people of the "Magnolia State." The contract to build Mississippi was awarded to Electric Boat Aug. 14, 2003. Construction began Feb. 18, 2007. Cmdr. John McGrath is Mississippi's officer-in-charge.
Virginia-class submarines are tailored to excel in a wide range of warfighting missions. These include anti-submarine and surface ship warfare; special operation forces; strike; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; carrier and expeditionary strike group support; and mine warfare.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.