Groton - The Mississippi returned to the Electric Boat shipyard April 9 after successfully completing its first voyage in open seas for Alpha sea trials.
Under the command of Capt. John McGrath, Mississippi (SSN 782) left April 7 to evaluate the submarine's seaworthiness and operational capabilities. During the trials, the crew took the Virginia-class submarine to test depth, conducted an emergency surfacing and tested the submarine's propulsion plant.
"Mississippi and her crew delivered an outstanding performance," said Rear Adm. (select) Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager. "The tremendous efforts of our shipbuilders and Mississippi's crew will result in the fastest Virginia-class delivery to date and put another very capable asset in the hands of fleet."
Mississippi, the ninth ship of the class, is expected to set a new record when it is delivered in 63 months, 11 months earlier than its contracted delivery date.
"The success of the Virginia class is a direct result of the outstanding performance from our industry partners General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding and our Navy team," said Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer for submarines.
Mississippi will now go through Bravo Sea Trials and the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey Trials before delivery later this spring. The submarine will be commissioned June 2 in Pascagoula, Miss.
USS ANNAPOLIS HONORED WITH SAFETY AWARD
Groton - The USS Annapolis (SSN 760) received the 2011 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety Award for Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, the Navy announced April 4.
Annapolis (SSN 760), a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, was one of 19 afloat units to receive this annual recognition. The winning ship in each category receives a plaque and citation. They are authorized to display the green safety "S" flag on their ship.
"This achievement is a testament to the committed effort toward high day-to-day standards and deck-plate leadership, combined with the consistent effort of the crew to maintain a safe work environment," said Cmdr. John Gearhart, Annapolis' commanding officer.
VFW POST 189 WOULD LIKE HELP LOCATING LOCAL VETERANS
New London - The Veterans of Foreign Wars Murphy-Rathbun Post 189 is looking for help finding local veterans.
"Because of privacy laws, we have no procedural way to find veterans in our communities," Post 189 Commander Charles Doyle said. "Veterans or their families or friends have to let us know they are here. We have heroes living in New London thinking their town and local VFW doesn't care about them, when in fact we just can't find them, especially new returning vets."
The post is a community-service organization that seeks to serve veterans, the military and the community. As part of a two-month, Memorial Day membership push, the post is placing a special emphasis on recruiting female veterans.
"Female veterans are out there and they should be recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made for all of us," Doyle said. "I'll bet the post would pay for a free lifetime membership for any eligible female over 75 living in New London."
VFW Post 189 is online at www.facebook.com/VFW189. Call the post home for information about membership and events, (860) 447-9059.
THREE WITH LOCAL TIES COMPLETE BASIC TRAINING AT AFB
Three people with local ties have graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The graduates are Air Force Airman Matthew S. Rasmussen, Air Force Airman Zachory J. Restor and Air Force Airman Ryan T. Vaughan.
Rasmussen, the son of Maureen and Curtis Rasmussen of Old Lyme, is a 2011 graduate of Lyme-Old Lyme High School.
Restor, the son of Shannon Bousquet-Restor, of Griswold and Brandon Restor, of Chaplin, is a 2011 graduate of Griswold Senior High School.
Vaughan, the son of Mark Vaughan of Niantic, is a 2011 graduate of Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon. He earned distinction as an honors graduate.
WORK VESSELS, VALENTI'S PRESENT VAN TO GROUP THAT HELPS DISABLED VETS
At a presentation at Valenti Auto Mall, John Niekrash, founder of Work Vessels for Vets, presented, along with Rob Valenti, president of Valenti's, a 15-passenger Dodge van to Rob Divis, founder of The Warrior Diving Foundation of Athens, Ga.
Their mission is to certify disabled vets in the sport of scuba diving, proven positive for PTSD issues when learned.
Divis is a vet helping other vets now being aided with a "Hand Up" from Work Vessels "pay it forward" business model.
John Devine, general manager and "Valenti's Vehicles for Vets" coordinator, also attended the presentation.
Devine's meeting Niekrash on a flight to Baltimore
serendipitously matched the van to a request made to Work Vessels four months ago by Divis.
Work Vessels is a 100 percent volunteer charity providing assistance to returning vets, based in Noank.