First Lady Helps to Commission Navy’s Newest Fast Attack Submarine in Groton

NBC Connecticut

First Lady Michelle Obama said she was "beyond proud" to be part of the commissioning ceremony for the US Navy attack submarine named for her home state of Illinois.  

The First Lady is serving as the sponsor of the future USS Illinois (SSN 786), the Navy’s newest fast attack submarine, and she attended the ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton Saturday to give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!" 

"USS Illinois is one of the most technologically advanced platforms in the world," Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy, said in a news release. "This submarine represents not only the Navy's lasting connection to the state of Illinois but also the American innovation and manufacturing skill that have given us such a powerful advantage, making us the most powerful expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."

The submarine officially became the USS Illinois and began active service at Saturday's ceremony. 

The first lady has made supporting military families a priority. As the ship sponsor, she will be involved in the lives of its sailors and families.

It took thousands of shipyard employees in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia to build the $2.7 billion submarine.

The USS Illinois is the 13th member of the Virginia class.

The previous Illinois (BB 7) was a battleship that Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company started building in 1897. 

In January 1941, the ship was renamed Prairie State (IX-15) and served through World War II as a midshipmen's training school.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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