USS Mississippi is being constructed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

USS Mississippi is being constructed

By Jessica Bowman – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It is the fifth Navy vessel that will represent the Magnolia State. 'Mississippi' is the name of the Navy's Virginia-class attack submarine.

Saturday, Commander John McGrath, the Officer in Charge of the Pre-Commissioning Unit Mississippi, stopped by the Biloxi Yacht Club to discuss the progress of the submarine's construction.

Once constructed, the Pre-Commissioning Unit USS Mississippi will be vital to National Security, possibly more than the average American will ever know.

McGrath said, "It carries out our six core missions for attack submarines including: anti submarine, anti surface war fare, long range strike, support of special forces operation, mind laying and intelligence surveillance."

The 377 foot attack submarine is the ninth of Virginia-class submarines. This class is a leap forward in technology compared to older ships.

"A lot of the ship's functions are automated compared to what your custom to seeing on older classes of submarines. Things like depth control can be computer assisted," McGrath said.

Once the ship is completed a commissioning ceremony will be held.

McGrath said, "It's a significant event in the lifetime of a ship and a significant event for the U.S. Military bringing in a major warship in service."

Bill Hughsman said, "That vessel becomes sovereign U.S. territory anywhere on the face of the planet. When we raise that flag and send her to sea, she's sovereign U.S. territory."

A commissioning committee is currently being put together. This committee will help decide on a appropriate place for the commissioning ceremony.

Commander McGrath said the nuclear powered USS Mississippi will be ready for the commissioning ceremony in 2012. He said right now there are 134 crew members that will be working on the ship. It will be red under the water line and black above. The ship will be able to travel up to 28 miles per hour.

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