History was in the making this week as lawmakers welcomed members of the crew and support group of the soon-to-be christened USS Illinois. The USS Illinois, a Virginia-Class submarine, is the first commissioned U.S. Navy vessel to bear the state’s name in nearly 120 years.
The last ship to carry the name of Illinois was a battleship put in service in 1897. That ship saw only brief action during the early 1900’s. Another USS Illinois battleship was to be constructed during the World War II-era, but the Navy decided against it as the war was winding down.