PCU Mississippi Progresses Toward Completion
By Lt. Patrick Evans, Public Affairs Officer, Submarine Group Two
GROTON, Conn. - Progress continues this month for PCU Mississippi (SSN 782), the latest Virginia class attack submarine.
The first 40 crewmembers took up office space in General Dynamics Electric Boat's shipyard on Jan. 4, and they are establishing their normal daily routines. When fully manned, Mississippi will have a crew of 134: 14 officers and 120 enlisted. In December, the crew was in training in Pittsburgh, PA.
"Forming a new crew and establishing a ship’s identity is an amazing process," said Cmdr John McGrath, Mississippi's commanding officer. "While the crew was in Pittsburgh, we ran into a Navy retiree who had served as the Command Master Chief of the USS Mississippi (CGN-40) when she was decommissioned. He gave us some great mementos and made us all honorary CGN-40 crewmembers."
According to McGrath, the submarine is more than 50% complete and is on schedule. Currently, there is a small section of the boat at EB. In the coming months, additional sections will be floating up the Thames River to be joined together at Electric Boat. Delivery and commissioning are set for early 2012.
The ship's sponsor will be Allison Stiller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Ship Programs.
Next month, McGrath plans to visit the state of Mississippi to meet with community members of the boat's namesake as momentum builds toward forming a commissioning committee.
The contract to build Mississippi was awarded to Electric Boat on Aug. 14, 2003. Construction began in Feb. 18, 2007. Mississippi is the fifth Navy vessel to carry the name of the Magnolia State. Upon completion and commissioning, Mississippi will join the other subs of her class 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.