On April 29, crew members and commissioning team members for the new USS Illinois nuclear submarine were welcomed to Springfield. They were recognized in the House of Representatives and also had a display and replica model of the vessel in the rotunda for the day.
The submarine is approaching two significant milestones in its service life. The vessel, which will operate as SSN 786, is approaching its launch date on the East Coast. Following launch, the submersible will be carefully fueled and fitted out for service; when the fitting-out process is complete, the vessel will enjoy a second ceremony, that of being commissioned as an active warship on the rolls of the Navy. At that time the vessel will be entitled to the full name of “U.S.S. Illinois.”
Friends of the “Illinois” have set up a committee to support the vessel and the personnel that have built and will man it. By custom, civilian committees like this one are responsible for much of the financial support necessary to celebrate the vessel’s launch and entry into active service. HR 200 sponsored by State Representatives Keith Wheeler and Jeanne Ives, applauds the approaching entry of the “Illinois” into service.
The Committee told House members they will not only help organize and raise money for events surrounding the launching and commissioning, but also provide ongoing support for the ship and its crew after commissioning. As a nuclear-powered submarine, the vessel will be available for three-month tours of duty, during which time the vessel may not touch the surface of the water.