PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- Nearly two dozen Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mississippi (SSN 782) Sailors assisted the local Habitat for Humanity organization in Pascagoula with an ongoing housing project May 29.
PCU Mississippi, a Virginia-class attack submarine arrived in Pascagoula May 25 to prepare for its commissioning June 2.
Capt. John McGrath, PCU Mississippi's commanding officer said his crew was very interested in assisting in volunteer projects while the submarine was in Pascagoula for its commissioning.
"The Sailors of PCU Mississippi are true ambassadors of goodwill for not only the Submarine Force, but the U.S. Navy," said McGrath. "Since the early days of the boat's construction, my crew has diligently shown their volunteer spirit by giving of their off-duty time to various activities in Connecticut. It's only fitting for my crew to do the same in their namesake state of Mississippi."
Adele Lyons, director of development, Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast appreciated the support.
"Since Habitat for Humanity has been involved in an initiative to engage members of the military community, it is a perfect match to get Sailors from the Mississippi involved in one of our projects," said Lyons. "From past experience, we know these Sailors have a work ethic is second to none. We truly appreciate the Sailors wanting to give back to this community through volunteerism."
In December 2011, the submarine received a Navy Community Service/Project Good Neighbor community service award.
"When we were planning events to participate in during the commissioning week, many of my Sailors who regularly volunteered in Connecticut, were the first ones to sign up to participate in volunteer activities," said McGrath.
McGrath also added that since mid-2010, his Sailors assisted with countless projects in Connecticut that range from cooking food for veterans to educating students at John B. Stanton Elementary School.
While in their namesake state, PCU Mississippi Sailors will also volunteer with the local American Red Cross to pack hurricane preparedness materials.
Virginia-class submarines are built under a unique teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News. Construction on the submarine began in February 2007.
Once commissioned in 2012, Mississippi, like all Virginia-class submarines, is designed to dominate both the littorals and deep oceans. It will serve as a valuable asset in supporting the core capabilities of maritime strategy: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.
PCU Mississippi will be commissioned June 2 in Pascagoula, Miss. The ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. CST, will be streamed live on http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/ and available via webcast at http://www.dvidshub.net/webcast/2421#.T7_T57BtaSo.