As a sponsor, Mrs. Obama will participate in the ship’s ceremonies, such as its christening, where she would bestow the vessel’s name and smash a bottle against the bow, and its commissioning, in which the sub becomes a part of the active Navy fleet.
A sponsor also must maintain a bond with the vessel and each captain and crew throughout the ship’s active life.
The secretary of the Navy selects women to serve as sponsors for ships and submarines.
Mrs. Obama also serves as the sponsor for the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, based in Alameda, Calif.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as sponsor of the USS Illinois,” Mrs. Obama said in a statement. “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,” she said.
The USS Illinois is being built in Groton, Conn., and Norfolk, Va., and is expected to deploy in 2015.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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