First look at new USS Missouri submarine
Sun, 23 Aug 2009 04:08:49 GMT —
A new high tech Navy submarine will bear the name of the state of Missouri.
There have been just four ships named in in honor of the Show-Me state. This new submarine, which is being built in Groton, Conn., will be the fifth.
The last ship named after Missouri is now a floating museum at Pearl Harbor. The USS Missouri World War II battleship was the site of the Japanese surrender in 1945.
For that reason, the new USS Missouri brings with it a sense of history.
"It's a great tradition, a great naming tradition," said Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Lexington), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "A lot of people don't realize that here in Missouri, in the Midwest, we're still very, very Navy oriented. And I'm very proud of that."
For new crew members, manning the Missouri is responsibility, they say, they won't take lightly.
"It's deeply humbling," said Commanding Officer Tim Rexrode, who will head the USS Missouri. "And it's an honor to bear the name of the the great state of Missouri."
By all accounts, the slick looking, covert, black sub is impressive.
Weighing 7,800 tons and longer than a football field, it's the seventh ship of the new Virginia class nuclear attack submarines. It comes complete with state-of-the-art equipment, computers and weapons.
"It's capable of anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare," said Rexrode. "It's capable of mine warfare, cruise missile strike operations, special operation forces."
The USS Missouri will have 136 sailors on board. Among them will be FT2 Ryan Thruston, 26, a Jefferson City native who says he's excited to represent his home state.
"I'm really proud that I'm a native of Missouri, I grew up here in Jefferson City" said Thruston. "Being what they call a 'plank owner' - the initial crew - has been a great honor."
The wife of Defense Secretary Robert Gates is sponsoring the submarine and will christen it later this year.
The new USS Missouri will then carve its own place in history when it's commissioned next August.