USS Mississippi (SSN 782) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 1. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Daniel Hinton)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Mississippi (SSN 782) returned from her maiden deployment to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 1.

"The officers, Sailors, and the entire ship executed this deployment exceptionally well," said Cmdr. Eric Rozek, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Mississippi's commanding officer. "Although the majority of the crew had never deployed, the maiden deployment was a tremendous success."

During the deployment, 19 Sailors earned their submarine warfare qualification and 19 Sailors advanced in rank.

Among those standing pierside to welcome home the Mississippi was the ship's sponsor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Ship Programs Allison Stiller.

"The state of Mississippi is so proud of the work this boat and its crew has done, said Stiller. "She's the best boat in the whole Navy."

During the six-month deployment, Mississippi conducted exercises and operations with other navies in the Western Pacific.

"The crew conducted an array of undersea operations with allies and partners," said Rozek. "We also took part in multinational exercises throughout the Western Pacific."

While deployed, the Mississippi visited the port of Busan, Korea. Sailors volunteered their time alongside allies in the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy at a local orphanage.

"The event was an incredible opportunity for the crew of Mississippi and the ROK Navy," said Lt. j.g. Tamsyn O. Thompson, a native of Guyana. "We got to share experiences in giving back to the community. We learned, taught, and improved our capabilities to work together."

Upon returning to Pearl Harbor, Master Chief Machinist's Mate Amanuel S. McMillan, from Macon, Georgia and Mississippi's Chief of the Boat, praised his crew for their hard work and professionalism during the boat's maiden deployment.

"The crew performed well and the deployment really meshed them together," said McMillan. "I am very proud of how far we've come and developed as team Mississippi."

USS Mississippi is the fourth and newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine to be homeported in Pearl Harbor. The submarine is 377-feet long, displaces 7,800 tons, and is equipped to carry torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles. It possesses the capacity to insert special operations forces into a multitude of environments and battlefield scenarios.

For more news from the Pacific Submarine Force, visit www.csp.navy.mil.