First Lady to Sponsor USS Illinois

Mrs. Obama follows ship-sponsoring tradition

Tuesday, May 29, 2012  |  Updated 8:44 AM CDT
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The President and Mrs. Obama met with the U.S. Navy's first contingent of women submariners to served on the Navy's Operational submarine force Memorial Day.

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First Lady Michelle Obama will join a First Lady's tradition and sponsor a U.S. Submarine.

The U.S.S. Illinois is expected to enter service in 2015, and it has Mrs. Obama's blessing. 

"It's an honor and a privilege," Mrs. Obama said. "To serve as sponsor of the USS Illinois...This submarine is a tribute to the strength, courage, and determination that our Navy families exhibit every day."

The USS Illinois is one of the newest class of Navy submarines being built in Groton, Connecticut and Newport News, Virgina, Naval officials said. 

Mrs. Obama joins other first ladies in a tradition of sponsoring U.S. Navy submarines.  Former First Lady Laura Bush is the sponsor of USS Texas; Former First Lady Hillary Clinton is USS' Columbia's sponsor.

"Naval tradition holds that a sponsor's spirit and presence guide the ship and her crew throughout the life of the ship," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said. "Illinois and her crew are blessed to have such a wonderful sponsor."

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