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Groton— Allison Stiller smashed a bottle of champagne over the hull of the Mississippi to officially christen the submarine in a ceremony at Electric Boat today.
She broke the bottle on the first try and held it over her head triumphantly. When a ship's sponsor breaks the bottle, she is said to be imparting her personality onto the ship, an integral part of the ship's success.
Stiller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs, said, "I endow her with my tenacity, compassion and love of family and friends."
The Mississippi (SSN 782) is the ninth member of the Virginia class. Many of the speakers at Saturday's christening, including Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, praised Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia for delivering submarines ahead of schedule and under budget.
The Mississippi is on track to be delivered in April, a year earlier than the contracted date, and more than $50 million below the contracted cost.
Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, commander of the Submarine Force, said the Virginia-class submarines are "super capable warships, driven by these super capable sailors, whether at sea on station or on the blocks in construction, form our nation's powerful voice."