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Navy to christen USS Mississippi on Saturday

The Navy will christen its newest attack submarine USS Mississippi, Saturday in a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., the Navy said today.

According to a press release from the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Allison Stiller, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs, is the ship’s sponsor.

The submarine is scheduled to be commissioned in Gulfport on June 2, 2012.

The naming of Mississippi, designated SSN 782, recognizes the state’s tradition of shipbuilding. It also honors the people of Mississippi who have made great strides in recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Mississippi 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 and deep waters, Mississippi will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities -- sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

There have been four previous ships named Mississippi. Most notable, the first, a side wheeler, served as Commodore Matthew Perry’s flagship for his historic voyage to Japan and fought with Adm. David Farragut’s forces on the Mississippi River during the Civil War.

Capt. John McGrath, a native of Neptune, N.J., and a 1990 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, will be the ship’s commanding officer, leading a crew of approximately 142 officers and enlisted personnel.

Sunherald.com will carry the christening live on Saturday morning. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

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