By Mark Rhoads -
Electric Boat Company and General Dynamics are now building a new Virginia Class Sea Wolf attack submarine that will bear the name USS Illinois (SSN-786) when it is delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2016. This will be the first Navy ship to be named for the state of Illinois in more than 70 years since World War II and the first ever submarine to bear the name.
Three other surface ships have had the name "Illinois" and one was part of the Great White Fleet at the time of the Spanish-American War. A full scale wooden mock up of that first USS Illinois battleship was displayed at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 before that actual ship was commissioned. A commanding officer for the pre-commissioned phase of the ship has already been appointed. May God bless the USS Illinois and all who sail in her.