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SSN 774 Virginia

Currently, there are over 53 crewmembers assigned to Virginia, with 39 nuclear-trained personnel, including the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer, Engineer, Navigator, and four LDO division officers. In addition, I have two master chiefs (Chief of the Boat and Engineering Department Master Chief), and a chief corpsman, yeoman, supply chief, and a LAN administrator to round out the crew. The enlisted crewmembers have five-year projected rotation dates and are part of the first crew increment, called Increment A. Their initial manning date was 15 May 2000, after completion of the Reactor Plant Design School in April.

Increment A will be onboard through construction and sea trials, and remain until Post Shakedown Availability, which is typically about a year after delivery. Increment B will report in June 2002 and will include about 50 more crewmembers, including Auxiliary Division, Weapons Department, and Operations Department personnel. Three split-tour submarine-qualified junior officers and the ship's four department heads will also report with Increment B. Since the Virginia-class modular construction program has required Navy operational support at a much earlier date than previous new construction programs, the Increment A OIC, XO, and Engineer will also change over at the Increment B timeframe. This manning sequence will be the same for subsequent ships of this class.

Increment B manning for Virginia took place in June 2002.

By late 2001, if the existing hull sections and completed components for Virginia were put together, she would have been just under 50 percent complete. For example, the forward part of Virginia's Engine Room and the Reactor Compartment are so far along that ship's force has recently commenced watch standing and testing in that section. Virginia's sea trials were scheduled for March 2004, with delivery scheduled for June 2004.

The office building where crewmembers work while Virginia is under construction is located at the EB facilities and has a replica of the extremely sophisticated LAN that will be used on the ship. Using this LAN, the Virginia crew is developing a streamlined connectivity process and is perfecting methods of conducting business in a paperless environment. Taking the existing database and downloading it onto the ship's network is all that will be required to shift operations from the PCU office building to the boat.

By November 2002 the pressure hull assembly was completed for the Virginia. The pressure hull is assembled from a series of large steel cylinders welded together to form the familiar cigar shape of a submarine. The pressure hull is designed to resist the pressure of water and to maintain a livable environment for the crew. Virginia was more than 80 percent constructed, and is on schedule for delivery in June 2004. With a modular design and a teamed construction effort between Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News, the Navy has reduced acquisition costs and increased construction efficiency.

As of late 2002, a decision on the homeport for the Virginia has yet to be made.

In August 2003 the Navy's newest and most advanced submarine, Virginia, was moved outdoors for the first time, and was prepared for her Aug. 16 christening. Virginia is the first US submarine to be designed for battlespace dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions as well as open-ocean, "blue water" missions.

Sen. George Allen of Virginia delivered the ceremony's principal address for the ship named in honor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Lynda Robb, wife of former Virginia Sen. Charles Robb and daughter of 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson, served as ship's sponsor.

USS Virginia, lead ship of the latest class of attack submarines, was commissionned on Oct. 23, 2004, at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va. Sen. John Warner of Virginia delivered the ceremony's principal address. Lynda Johnson Robb, wife of former Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia and daughter of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, served as the ship's sponsor.



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