The commissioning ceremony for the Navy's newest submarine, the USS Mississippi, is June 2 in Pascagoula.
The ceremony is being led by the Meridian Area Navy League.
The sub's Master Chief William Stoiber spoke with Newscenter 11 Thursday. He said one and all are excited about the celebration to come.
"Even though I've never experienced a commissioning ceremony, I did get to experience the christening on board the Mississippi, and this far exceeds the christening," said Stoiber. "I'm really excited about getting to bring the ship to life right here in its namesake's state of Mississippi."
Stoiber said the reception from Mississippi residents has been great.
"They just express their gratitude for our service to the nation, and they're excited about having the ship here to do its christening," Stoiber said.
"They're representing the state of Mississippi, but also, they're representing the USS Mississippi. Every member takes a lot of pride in the fact that they're on the crew; every member takes pride in the job they do, and that they are stationed on board the USS Mississippi."
Newscenter 11 asked Stoiber what he is most looking forward to at Saturday's ceremony.
"The actual point of when the ship is actually brought into service by the Secretary of the Navy," said Stoiber. "That's going to be a very exciting moment. And following that is when the ship's sponsor brings the ship to life. That's going to be an extremely exciting event."
Four earlier U.S. Navy ships carried the name Mississippi.
Here's a brief history of each:
The first was a steam-powered paddlewheeler launched in 1841. One of the Navy's earliest steamships, it fought in the Mexican War, carried Commodore Matthew Perry on his 1853 diplomatic trip that opened trade with Japan and helped the Union capture New Orleans in 1862 during the Civil War. The ship ran aground under Confederate fire at Port Hudson, La., in 1863, and was destroyed by
her own crew to prevent capture. Among the crew was the future U.S. commander at the 1898 Battle of Manila Bay, George Dewey.
The second Mississippi was a battleship commissioned in 1908. Undersized in a congressional effort to save money, the Navy used
the Mississippi briefly as a base for seaplanes before selling it to Greece in 1914. The ship, renamed the Kilkis, was sunk by German dive bombers in 1941 while being used as a floating gun battery. Its figurehead is displayed in Jackson on the grounds of the state Capitol.
The third Mississippi, also a battleship, was commissioned in 1917. It saw action in the Pacific during World War II. After the war it served for another decade as an auxiliary, helping test new
weapon systems. It was decommissioned in 1956 and scrapped. The ship's bell is displayed at Rosalie mansion in Natchez.
The fourth ship bearing the name of the Magnolia State was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser commissioned in 1978. The cruiser fired missiles at Iraq during the first Gulf War and was
decommissioned in 1997. Its main mast is displayed at the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ocean Springs.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.