Commander, Submarine Group Two

100416-N-5188B-010 GROTON, Conn. (April 16, 2010) Sailors assigned to the
Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780)
raise the national ensign aboard the boat for the first time at General Dynamics Electric
Boat in Groton, Conn. Missouri will be commissioned July 31. U.S. Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair

Submarine Missouri Reaches Milestone As Commissioning Day Approaches

GROTON, Conn. - A milestone in the life of the Navy’s newest Virginia-class submarine was marked April 16 as the crew of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780) moved aboard and began bringing her systems to life on “In Service Day.”

During “In Service Day,” crew members move aboard the submarine and begin general day-to-day operations and preparations for sea-trials, work-ups and eventual commissioning.

Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode, the sub's commanding officer, leads a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. He said they were excited, as they hurried across the gangway.

 “’In Service Day’ is a big day for the crew because we take control of the sub’s safety and security from the folks at General Dynamics Electric Boat,” said Rexrode, of Spencer, W.Va.  “We are training everyday, so we can prepare to set sail and take the lead as America’s newest submarine.”

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

Among the many improved “creature comforts” for the crew is the ship’s galley. Redesigned for the Virginia-class, the galley is four-times larger than that of the Los Angeles and Seawolf-class submarines.

Culinary Specialist Seaman Paul Hites understands the importance of great food for the crew. 

“Being a cook on a sub is a big deal. Preparing good food helps keep the crew’s morale up,” said Hites. “It really is an important job that I take pride in.”

The Virginia-class of submarines is 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. Also in Virginia-class boats, traditional periscopes have been supplanted by two Photonics Masts that house color, high-resolution black and white, and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms.

Improved situational awareness is but one of the advances for commanders and Rexrode noted the unique environment and dedication of submariners.

“Most Sailors on a submarine operate onboard without ever knowing where they are in the ocean or on the planet.”

Missouri will be the seventh Virginia-class submarine delivered to the Navy when she is commissioned on July 31 at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton.

Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State.  The last USS Missouri, the 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.