CHICAGO ¬– June 22, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the anchor of USS Chicago on Navy Pier for the ship naming ceremony in honor of USS Illinois, one of the Navy’s newest vessels. The first modern Navy vessel to be named after the state, USS Illinois will join the fleet in 2015.
“Illinois has a long history of commitment and support for our nation’s Armed Forces,” Governor Quinn said. “On behalf of the people of Illinois, it is a privilege to once again have a vessel named after our great state.”
Part of the Navy’s new Virginia-class fleet, USS Illinois is a next-generation attack submarine designed for deep ocean warfare as well as shallow water operations. This multimission nuclear-powered submarine has unique features that enhance its warfighting capabilities such as excellent shallow water handling, high-resolution cameras instead of periscopes to improve visibility and the ability to support special operations forces. The many innovations incorporated into USS Illinois and the entire Virginia-class fleet’s design make them the most advanced submarines in the world.
"I chose to name this submarine in honor of the U.S. Navy's longstanding relationship with Illinois," Secretary Mabus said. "A special bond exists between a state and her namesake. I am confident the people of the great state of Illinois will continue their strong support of our military through their relationship with the USS Illinois and all those who sail in her."
Illinois is home to the only Recruit Training Command in the country, Naval Station Great Lakes. Approximately 37,000 men and women complete the requirements to become Navy Sailors each year at Great Lakes.
One of Governor Quinn’s top priorities throughout his career in public service has been the well-being of Illinois servicemembers and their families. Governor Quinn championed legislation creating the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund as Lieutenant Governor, which provides monetary grants to families of Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve. Governor Quinn also launched Illinois’ Welcome Home Heroes program, created to make homeownership more affordable for veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members.
To find out more about the programs and benefits Illinois offers veterans, current servicemembers and military families, please visit www.operationhomefront.org.