Mississippi christened at Electric Boat

Allison Stiller, the sponsor of the Virginia-class submarine Mississippi (SSN-782), breaks a bottle of champagne on the sail of the ship to christen it at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. Allison Stiller is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for ship programs.
Allison Stiller, the sponsor of the Virginia-class submarine Mississippi (SSN-782), breaks a bottle of champagne on the sail of the ship to christen it at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. Allison Stiller is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for ship programs. Abigail Pheiffer/The Day Buy Photo

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."

j.mcdermott@theday.com

The crew of the Virginia Class submarine Mississippi, (SSN-782), walks onto the ship and stands in formation at the start of the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011.
The crew of the Virginia Class submarine Mississippi, (SSN-782), walks onto the ship and stands in formation at the start of the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. Abigail Pheiffer/The Day Buy Photo
The crew of the Virginia Class submarine Mississippi, (SSN-782), walks off the ship at the end of the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011.
The crew of the Virginia Class submarine Mississippi, (SSN-782), walks off the ship at the end of the christening ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. Abigail Pheiffer/The Day Buy Photo
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