GROTON. Conn. (NNS) -- Miss Virginia visited her commonwealth's namesake submarine June 16 at the vessel's homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London.
Chinah Helmandollar, Miss Virginia 2009, toured USS Virginia (SSN 774) and conducted an autograph session for the crew. She was the third Miss Virginia to visit the namesake submarine in the last three years.
Helmandollar toured the submarine, had lunch in the wardroom, and was presented a ship's coin by the commanding officer.
"This is my first visit to a modern submarine," said Helmandollar. "And my first trip to a military installation since becoming Miss Virginia."
After lunch in the wardroom, Helmandollar was presented with a ship's coin from Cmdr. Timothy Salter, Virginia commanding officer.
"The tour was amazing, I learned so much about a submarine I didn't know," said Helmandollar. "Coming to Virginia is an experience I probably never would have been able to do, had I not become Miss Virginia."
According to the crew, they were honored to have Helmandollar visit the submarine.
"It's great having Miss Virginia come to visit the crew today," said Salter.
"We are very excited to have Miss Virginia on board today," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Miguel Garcia. "We prepared a special meal for her luncheon with the commanding officer.
Before departing Virginia, Helmandollar took time to sign a few more autographs for members of the crew who were unable to attend the session earlier in the day.
"This has been one of the best events I have done since becoming Miss Virginia," concluded Helmandollar. "And I don't think I have ever been so well fed."
Virginia is the sixth U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name of the first English colony and the 10th American state. 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.
Helmandollar is a 23 year-old graduate of James Madison University where she earned a degree in theatre. She was the recipient of the Stratford Players Scholarship for theatre and the David Wilson Scholarship for excellence in theatre. She was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and she was named to the Dean's List.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.