The Barrington community has a big part to play in the commissioning of the second U.S. Navy ship in history to be named “USS Illinois”. Three Barrington residents are serving on a committee that will spend much of 2015 raising funds to support the submarine’s commissioning. They’re kicking things off with a special event in Barrington on February 5th where guests will have an opportunity to meet USS Illinois’ captain and a few members of his crew.
The USS Illinois (SSN-786) is the 13th Virginia Class nuclear submarine and is currently under construction at Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Ct. She is only the second U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with the name “USS Illinois” since a battleship with that name was commissioned in 1897. It is expected to be launched in mid-2015 and commissioned in December 2015.
Barrington residents, Bobby Ferguson (a former Navy officer and the committee co-chair), Dee Dee Johnson (owner of Bataille Academie of the Danse) and event planner, Christina Currie, are serving on the USS Illinois Commissioning Committee along with a select group of state and local leaders.
The USS Illinois Commissioning Committee’s purposes are to promote awareness within the state of the construction of the USS Illinois, provide support for the crew during construction, help organize and raise funding for the events surrounding the launching and commissioning, and to provide ongoing support for the ship and its crew after it is commissioned. “It’s huge for our state to have this honor for the first time since 1897,” Christina says. And it’s important for the Navy to know that we support them and are here for them.”
First Lady Michelle Obama, the ship’s sponsor, will christen the USS Illinois with a champagne bottle during the submarine’s launch in June and the crew will set sail for 30 days when the ship is commissioned in December.
You can learn more about the USS Illinois and meet the captain, Commanding Officer Jesse Porter, during a special commissioning event from 6:30 to 8:30 on Thursday, February 5th, at Wickstrom Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (600 W. Northwest Highway) in Barrington.
Commanding Officer Porter will make a presentation about the USS Illinois and its crew. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be served and the committee will be introducing the official USS Illinois cookie which is being produced by Jennie and Vera’s Cookies right here in Barrington, Illinois.
To attend the February 5th commissioning event at Wickstrom, call Christina Currie at 224-558-1764 or CLICK HERE to reserve your spot. There is no admission charge, but donations will be requested at the event and may also be made online at USSIllinois.org.
In addition to his visit at Wickstrom, CDR Porter will be visiting with students at Barrington High School and touring Stanley Machining in Carpentersville earlier in the day on February 5th. Stanley Machining is owned by Barrington’s Trzaska family and provides equipment for the Army and Navy.
For more information about the submarine and upcoming launch and commissioning, visit USSIllinois.org. And for an inside look at what the new USS Illinois will be like once construction is complete, watch this video from NBC5 Chicago’s Phil Rogers.