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Commander, Submarine Group Two


 
 

Navy Christens Newest Virginia-class Submarine Missouri

GROTON, Conn. – With the spray of bubbly from a champagne bottle, PCU Missouri (SSN 780), the Navy's newest Virginia-class attack submarine, was christened during a late morning ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat Dec. 5.

Missouri, the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State, is "a link in the honored chain of ships to bear the name; another chapter in the storied history of the Naval service," said Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus.

SECNAV and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates were among the many dignitaries and guests who attended the ceremony under a steady rain, which did not dampen the spirits of the attendees.

"We gather for this christening with the knowledge that Missouri’s service builds upon a proud lineage of her namesake," said U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the principal speaker for the event. "We gather in the belief that her service to our country – silent as it may be – will keep Americans safe by deterring would-be aggressors. We also gather today to confidently set the tone for the character of this submarine, which will sail with one foot in her proud past, but with an eye toward the future and all the potential that it holds. "

Becky Gates, wife of Secretary of Defense Gates, serves as ship's sponsor. She broke the traditional champagne bottle against the boat’s sail. Her initials were welded into a plaque inside the boat during last year’s keel laying ceremony.

"I am humbled that in some way, I will go wherever the submarine sails," said Mrs. Gates. "As this, the latest Missouri, moves on to active duty, my thoughts will always be with the dedicated patriots who sail aboard her, and the loved ones who wait for their safe return."

The christening marks another milestone for the submarine, which is "now 90 percent complete with construction, and is on track to finish $72 million under budget and well ahead of scheduled," according to Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Adm. Kirkland H. Donald.

"This accomplishment is a testament of the leadership on this project. It’s a tribute to each individual tradesman and Sailor represented by this crew that did their job right the first time and kept the environment of success and ownership on track and ever stronger," said Donald.

The last USS Missouri, a legendary battleship, saw action in World War II, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, and was also 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 on Sept. 2, 1945.

"This new Missouri will continue the proud history of ships before her. We in Missouri are proud of this ship, we are proud of her crew, we are proud of the ship builders who constructed it," said U.S. Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The seventh Virginia-class submarine, 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.

Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode of Spencer, W.Va., the ship's commanding officer, leads a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel.

Missouri is expected to be delivered to the Navy next year and begin her missions.

"She may patrol the waters of the Western Pacific or the North Atlantic. She may work with the Coast Guard and our international partners to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into our country. She may support our strike groups. And she will deploy to answer whatever the unknown challenges of the future, wherever they may be in support of our Maritime Strategy and our national objectives," said Mabus.

The 7,800-ton Missouri is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. She 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. Missouri 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.

- USN - 

High-Resolution Photos with captions are available below.

091205-N-3090M-078 GROTON, Conn. (December 5, 2009) – Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Missouri (SSN 780) stands ready to be christened at a ceremony in General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard. Missouri is the seventh submarine of the Virginia class and the fifth to be named after the Show-Me state. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.

091205-N-3090M-090 GROTON, Conn. (December 5, 2009) – Ship’s sponsor Rebecca Gates christens Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Missouri (SSN 780) during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard. Missouri is the seventh submarine of the Virginia class and the fifth to be named after the Show-Me state. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.

091205-N-3090M-042 GROTON, Conn. (December 5, 2009) – U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, left, presents a national ensign and state flag to Command Master Chief Reginald Brown, Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Missouri (SSN 780) Chief of the Boat. Skelton requested that the flags be flown aboard the vessel on her commissioning day. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.

091205-N-3090M-015 GROTON, Conn. (December 5, 2009) – Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode leads his crew aboard Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Missouri (SSN 780) in preparation for its christening. Rebecca Gates, the ships sponsor, christened the vessel. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.
 

091205-N-3090M-112 GROTON, Conn. (December 5, 2009) – The crew of Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Missouri (SSN 780) stands at parade rest during the ship’s christening at General Dynamics Electric Boat. Missouri is the seventh submarine of the Virginia class and the fifth to be named after the Show-Me state. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.
 
 CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS Courtesy General Dynamics Electric Boat