Mississippi Lawmakers Honor Namesake Submarine
JACKSON, Miss. The Mississippi State legislature commended the crew of submarine Mississippi (SSN 782) on March 24 "for its commitment to naval and maritime service in observance and commemoration of Mississippi Navy Week 2011."
State lawmakers praised the crew in a concurrent resolution read on the floor of both the house and senate. Cmdr. John McGrath, commanding officer of the Virginia-class submarine, accepted the resolution on behalf of the crew.
"The uniform outpouring of support we have enjoyed throughout the state has been wonderful and unlike anything I've ever experienced in my 20 year Naval career," McGrath told lawmakers.
McGrath and several crew members are in the Magnolia State for Mississippi Navy Week 2011, which runs March 19 - 27. Navy Weeks are designed to showcase the investment Americans have made in their Navy as global force for good and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.
The 2011 Navy Week season will also help commemorate the Centennial of Naval Aviation and continues as a year-long celebration with a variety of commemorative events planned across the country throughout the year.
Mississippi Navy Week events include Navy Band musical performances, visits to area schools and community service projects. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, also participated.
"I think Navy outreach is crucial. We're the away team. When we're doing our job, Sailors and Marines tend to be away from home. I think it is really important that people really understand the great job that they do, how skilled they are, and how hard a lot of these missions are," said Mabus.
Crew members of Mississippi have traveled throughout their namesake state reaching out to the community. They were involved in events along the Gulf Coast and in Hattiesburg, Jackson and Meridian. Some of the highlights were visits to hospitals, veterans homes, schools and the Boys and Girls Club. Crew members have enjoyed every moment.
"It's been absolutely wonderful. The people of Mississippi have really opened their arms to us and given us great hospitality and just a great time," said Chief Electronics Technician Tom Driscoll.
"I actually love it. The hospitality really stood out. I'm from Jacksonville, Fla., and we have hospitality there. But here, they've treated us like we're family. I really do like it," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Darrius Jenkins.
"It's been terrific. We had a chance to come down and get involved in the community, meet some of the locals and spread the word that we have a new ship being built that bears the state's name," said Yeoman 2nd Class Joseph Earomirski.
Mississippi, the ninth ship of the Virginia-class and the fifth Navy vessel to be named for the people of the Magnolia State, is about 80 percent complete. Currently, there are about 100 crew members. When fully staffed, the crew will consist of 120 members. Delivery to the Navy and commissioning are anticipated by the summer of 2012.
Upon completion and commissioning, Mississippi will join the other Virginia-class subs as flexible, multi-mission platforms designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the Submarine Force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; special operations forces; strike; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.
The submarine's sponsor is Allison Stiller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Ship Programs.
- Click here to view and download high-resolution photos of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mississippi (SSN 782) Sailors during Mississippi Navy Week 2011.
- Click here to find more information about PCU Mississippi (SSN 782).
- Click here to view other Mississippi Navy Week photos.
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