The USS Illinois, soon to be America’s newest nuclear submarine, is being prepped for its official debut next fall, and some Chicago students are working to help to create of a piece of it.
The vessel is still being built in Groton, Connecticut, but will eventually be lowered into the water and christened by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Four members of the Illinois’ first crew paid a visit Thursday to Westinghouse College Prep on Chicago’s West Side, where some students are taking part in a statewide competition to design the sub’s crest.
The crew gave the students an inside look at what it’s like to live on a submarine and many students shared some of their designs.
Officials say there is still a lot of work to be completed before the Illinois’ big day.
Sub base submariners have been training in simulators that offer wartime scenarios.
Petty Officer Charles Scaife of DeKalb, soon to be the sonar operator on the Illinois, will deploy in a few weeks on the USS Missouri.
“Their system is similar to what we’re getting, and that will help me when I come back to the Illinois,” he said.
The Illinois is also set to have her own support group, the 786 Club, backed by the Union League Club of Chicago.
The USS Illinois is expected to be commissioned and enter service with the Navy in December of 2015.
For more information about the USS Illinois visit their web site at www.ussillinois.org