"Show Me State" Submarine Set to Join the Fleet
GROTON, Conn (July 1, 2010) - The seventh submarine of the Virginia class officially joins the U.S. Navy fleet when Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Missouri (SSN 780) is commissioned during a ceremony on July 31, 2010 at 11 am at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.
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, was 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.
The 7,800-ton submarine Missouri is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. At 377-feet long, Missouri is slightly longer than a football field. She has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will 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 and increasing underway time.
Missouri reached several milestones on her journey toward commissioning. Construction began in December 2004; the submarine's keel was authenticated during a ceremony on Sept. 27, 2008 at the General Dynamics Electric Boat facility in North Kingstown, R.I.; and, she was christened during a late morning ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat on Dec. 5, 2009.
Another milestone occurred on April 16 during "In Service Day," when crew members moved aboard the submarine, bringing her systems to life, beginning general day-to-day operations and preparing for sea-trials, work-ups and commissioning.
Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode, the submarine's commanding officer, leads a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. A native of Spencer, W.Va., Rexrode graduated with honors in 1990 from West Virginia University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. In addition, Rexrode is a distinguished graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, holding as Master's in Military Studies. He also received a Master's of Arts degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.
Becky Gates, wife of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, serves as the submarine's sponsor. She broke the traditional champagne bottle against the boat's sail during the christening ceremony last December. Her initials were welded into a plaque inside the boat during last year's keel laying ceremony.
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.
The USS Missouri Commissioning Committee, an IRS-designated 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, was created to increase awareness of the submarine's commissioning. The Commissioning Committee offers information about the development of the submarine, as well as history on former Navy ships named for the "Show Me State."
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- USN -
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media interested in covering the commissioning should contact the Public Affairs office of Submarine Group Two at (860) 694-5683. Please respond no later than 3pm on July 23.