Commander, Submarine Group Two

100616-N-6912H-313 GROTON, Conn. (June 16, 2010) - Miss Virginia 2009
Chinah Helmandollar learns the basics of submarine piloting during a tour
aboard her namesake submarine June 16. During her visit to
USS Virginia (SSN 774), Helmandollar signed autographs for the crew,
toured the submarine and enjoyed a luncheon with the commanding officer.
U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Joshua Hirschfeld.

Third Consecutive Miss Virginia Visits Namesake Sub

GROTON. Conn. - Miss Virginia visited her Commonwealth's namesake submarine for the third consecutive year June 16 at the vessel’s homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London.

Chinah Helmandollar, Miss Virginia 2009, toured USS Virginia (SSN 774) and conducted an autograph session for the crew. She was treated to a tour of the submarine, lunch in the wardroom, and presented a ships coin by the Commanding Officer.

 “This is my first visit to a modern submarine,” said Helmandollar. “And my first trip to a military installation since becoming Miss Virginia.”

 After lunch in the wardroom, Helmandollar was presented with a ships coin from Cmdr. Timothy Salter, Commanding Officer of the Virginia.

 “The tour was amazing, I learned so much about a submarine I didn’t know,” stated Helmandollar. “Coming to Virginia is an experience I probably never would have been able to do, had I not become Miss Virginia.”

 According to the crew, they were honored to have Helmandollar visit the submarine.

 “It’s great having Miss Virginia come to visit the crew today,” said Cmdr. Tim Salter, Virginia’s Commanding Officer.

 “We are very excited to have Miss Virginia onboard today,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Miguel Garcia. “We prepared a special meal for her luncheon with the Commanding officer.

 Before departing Virginia, Helmandollar took time to sign a few more autographs for members of the crew who were unable to attend the session earlier in the day.

 “This has been one of the best events I have done since becoming Miss Virginia,” concluded Helmandollar. “And I don’t think I have ever been so well fed.”

 Virginia is the sixth U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name of the first English colony and the 10th American state.  Virginia-class submarines are 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.

 Helmandollar is a 23 year-old graduate of James Madison University where she earned a degree in Theatre.  She was the recipient of the Stratford Players Scholarship for theatre and the David Wilson Scholarship for excellence in theatre.  She was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and she was named to the Dean’s List.


100616-N-3090M-100 GROTON, Conn. (June 16, 2010) – Miss Virginia 2009 Chinah Helmandollar poses with officers from the USS Virginia (SSN 774) wardroom during a visit to her namesake submarine June 16.  During her visit, Helmandollar toured the submarine and signed autographs for the crew. From left, Lt. j.g. Brian Higgins,Virginia’s Supply Officer; Lt. Keith Turnbull, Quality Assurance Officer; Lt. Cmdr. Thomas O'Donnell, Engineer; Cmdr. Tim Salter, Commanding Officer; Lt. Cmdr. Wes Bringham, Executive Officer; Lt. Scott Stewart, Combat Systems Officer; and Lt. Travis Burden, Damage Control Assistant. Photo by Julius Tolentino.