First Lady to christen U.S. Navy submarine Illinois Saturday
Oct. 5, 2015 By Ryan Maass – UPI
The Illinois, the 13th ship of the Virginia class, is the first nuclear-powered attack submarine U.S. Navy combatants designed for the post-Cold War era. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Virginia class submarines are designed for a broader spectrum of combat operations, including open-ocean and littoral combat missions. They are planned to replace the older Los Angeles-class submarine.
June 02, 2014
Remarks by the First Lady at the Keel Laying Ceremony for the PCU ILLINOIS
General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard
Quonset Point, Rhode Island
2:24 P.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Good afternoon. Wow. All right, can I just break with protocol and say, this is really cool. (Laughter.) I mean, come on. This is so nice. (Applause.)
I want to start by thanking Secretary Mabus for that very kind introduction, but more importantly, for his tremendous leadership for our country for so many years. I also want to recognize Governor Chaffee, Governor Malloy, Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and all of the members of Congress and the elected officials that we have with us today, and all of the distinguished guests and military leaders who serve our country so bravely every single day.
Now, I have been a sponsor for a Coast Guard cutter before, but I’ve heard that working with submariners is a whole different ballgame. Is that true? So I am beyond excited, and I am truly honored. And I couldn’t be more proud that I have my daughters, Malia and Sasha, who join me to serve as maids of honor for this vessel. They are not here today because they had tests to take. That’s no indication of their commitment going forward, but today they had history and something else. But they send their love, and they are truly excited by the honor. But know that you have three really solid Chicago girls that are very excited to support this vessel.
And we understand what a fine submarine the ILLINOIS will be. And it has been fascinating for me to learn more about all that goes into building a submarine -– from laying the keel, to the christening, to the commissioning. It is truly a privilege to be part of this very unique process. It is something that I will take away as one of the extraordinary experiences that I’ve had in my entire life.
So I want to thank everyone from General Dynamics Electric Boat for hosting us here today, for all the work that they’re doing, along with the folks from Newport News Shipbuilding to build this submarine. And I especially want to, again, join in thanking all of the outstanding folks who work to make these submarines happen — all of the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers, the electricians. I know there are so many more. I got to see some of you guys earlier — some of you guys and gals, because we got some strong women on the team, as well. But thank you for everything that you do, for being part of this effort. I’ve heard that you all are some of the most skilled shipbuilders we have around, so I’m confident that this is going to be an outstanding vessel.
First Lady Named Sponsor of New Navy Submarine, USS ILLINOIS
May 28, 2012
Accepts Honor During Visit with First Female Navy Submariners
As part of the Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize and serve military families, today at the White House President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with the U.S. Navy’s first contingent of women submariners to be assigned to the Navy’s operational submarine force. In 2009, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that for the first time in Navy history, women would be assigned to the submarine force. The 24 women who met with the President and First Lady today were accepted into the Navy’s nuclear submarine program after completing an intensive training program. They are serving on ballistic and guided missile submarines throughout the Navy. A photograph of the President, First Lady, Defense Secretary Panetta, Secretary Mabus and the women submariners can be found at this LINK.
As part of the visit to the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama accepted Secretary Ray Mabus’ invitation to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Illinois (SSN 786). Illinois is a Virginia-class submarine, the Navy’s newest class of attack submarine, and is being built in Groton, Connecticut and Newport News, Virginia. Illinois is expected to join the fleet in late 2015. In sponsoring USS Illinois, the First Lady joins a tradition of First Lady sponsorship of U.S. Navy submarines. First Lady Laura Bush is USS Texas’ (SSN 775) sponsor and christened it in 2004; First Lady Hillary Clinton is USS Columbia’s (SSN 771) sponsor and christened it in 1994. As sponsor, the First Lady will establish a special link to Illinois, her Sailors, and their families that extends throughout the life of the submarine.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as sponsor of the USS ILLINOIS,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m always inspired by the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Navy, as well as the families who support them. This submarine is a tribute to the strength, courage, and determination that our Navy families exhibit every day.”
USS Illinois (SSN-786)
USS Illinois (SSN-786), is a Virginia-class submarine. The contract to build her was awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries in partnership with the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Groton, CT on 22 December 2008. This ship is the third of the Block III subs which will feature a revised bow, including some technology from Ohio-class SSGNs. The first group of sailors reported for duty with the submarine during June 2013. It is under contract to be delivered in August 2016.
Keel Laying Ceremony and Sponsorship
The Keel Laying Ceremony took place on 2 June 2014. First Lady Michelle Obama took sponsorship.
The Official ship’s crest was designed by Christopher Durdle of Roseville, IL and accepted by the Navy at an unveiling ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago on April 2, 2015. First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated the contest finalists and crew via video at the ceremony. The ship will also receive ongoing support from the 786 Club of the Union League Club of Chicago.
USS Illinois (SSN-786): http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/underseawarfaremagazine/Issues/PDF/USW_Spring_2014_insert.pdf
Saturday October 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM ET
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the christening of the PCU Illinois
Live Stream: http://ebchristenings.com