USS Mississippi (CGN-40), a Virginia-class nuclear powered guided-missile cruiser, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 20th state admitted to the Union. Her keel was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Newport News, Virginia, on 22 February 1975. She was launched on 31 July 1976. The ship was commissioned on 5 August 1978 by Jimmy Carter, then serving as the 39th President of the United States. Early deployment included escorting the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). She also was deployed in 1989 as a response to the capture and subsequent murder of U.S Marine Corps, Colonel William R. Higgins by terrorists.