The newest submarine of the United States Navy was bathed in champagne at its christening on Saturday, and now shares a name with the state of Mississippi. It is the latest addition to a new generation of attack submarines, which have been hailed as the most complex pieces of machinery in the world.
The christening was held at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut, before a crowd of around 5,500. A Navy band played “Anchors Aweigh” as the champagne bottle was smashed against its sail.
The traditional breaking of the champagne bottle was done by deputy assistant Navy secretary Allison Stiller, the sponsor of the sub. Also in attendance during the ceremony were Navy admirals, members of Congress from Mississippi and Connecticut, and the sub’s uniformed crew, who stood on top of the 377-foot long sub.
Among those who were present was Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who shared: “Mississippi is built to excel in traditional submarine areas of warfare: anti-submarine, anti-surface, strike warfare… But she is also built to excel in nontraditional ones: special operations, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, irregular warfare.”
In June, the Mississippi will be commissioned in a separate ceremony in Gulfport, Mississippi.
The ship’s sponsor, Allison Stiller, triumphantly held the champagne bottle over her head after the christening. She shared: “I endow her with my tenacity, compassion and love of family and friends.”
Construction for the Mississippi started in February 2007. Prior to delivery, it still needs to undergo sea trials, final outfitting, and other tests.