The Barrington community warmly welcomed Captain Jesse Porter, the Commanding Officer of the new USS Illinois nuclear submarine and members of his crew in a special event at the Wickstrom Auto Group Chrysler showroom on Thursday night.
The event drew an enthusiastic crowd of local leaders, veterans and guests excited to play a part in the commissioning of our country’s first Navy ship to be named “USS Illinois” since 1897.
Hosted by the USS Illinois Commissioning Committee, the program began with a color guard presented by U.S. Naval Sea Cadets from the Barrington area, including Barrington High School juniors, Cole Meeke and Griffin Bailey.
Commissioning Committee member and Barrington business owner Dee Dee Johnson officially welcomed the captain and crew, introducing them to the crowd. Barrington Village President Karen Darch shared a few words of welcome and gave the guests of honor gifts commemorating Barrington’s Sesquicentennial, being celebrated this year. In exchange, Captain Porter gave Karen and the evening’s hosts embroidered USS Illinois caps and commemorative coins.
Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served throughout the evening as guests socialized, met the captain and learned more about the USS Illinois. Those who made donations to support the ship’s crew and upcoming commissioning events were given blinking red, white and blue star pins to wear. And the Commissioning Committee, which includes three Barrington residents, hosted a very successful first local event to raise awareness about and funds for the USS Illinois in Barrington.
After the submarine’s commissioning, the USS Illinois (SSN 786) will gather intelligence, deploy special forces and attack land targets. Called the most technologically sophisticated ship under the seas, the Virginia Class submarine will be equipped to combat rapidly emerging 21st Century threats with “massive firepower, cutting edge intelligence capabilities and and a revolutionary deck design,”according to USSIllinois.org. The submarine is under construction now to be launched in mid-2015 and commissioned in December of this year. To learn more, visit USSIllinois.org.
And stay tuned to learn more about the USS Illinois from Commanding Officer – CDR Jesse Porter himself. 365Barrington.com Reporter James Owen caught up with the captain this week for a one-on-one, on-camera interview. That video is coming soon, right here at 365Barrington.com.