Photo: USS Missouri arrives at Pearl Harbor homeport

US Navy’s Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) arrived to Pearl Harbor on January completing a homeport change from Groton, Connecticut.

Missouri is now assigned to Submarine Squadron 1, and is the sixth Virginia-class submarine stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“I can’t thank enough the staff of Submarine Squadron One and COMSUBPAC for facilitating this transfer,” said Cmdr. George Howell, commanding officer of Missouri. “There are so many logistical arrangements to be made to get 160 crew members to Hawaii and they were there to help every step of the way.”

Missouri was commissioned and christened by the ship’s sponsor, Becky Gates, wife of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut, Dec. 5, 2009.

Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the state of Missouri. The last USS Missouri, the legendary battleship, saw action in World War II, the Korean War and the Persian Gulf War, and the battleship was also the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and many other U.S. and Allied officers accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II.

Howell said the crew is excited to experience a new homeport as well as a new culture.

“The crew is very excited to experience the beauty of the island and the Hawaiian culture,” said Howell. “We’re also looking forward to supporting the COMSUBPAC mission.”

The 7,800-ton Missouri is 377-feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and capable of diving depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Missouri is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship – reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.