First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Groton for submarine christening

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Electric Boat gets ready to christen the navy’s 13th submarine in the Virginia Class.

electric boat
(WTNH/Tina Detelj)

It was in June 2014 that First Lady Michelle Obama visited Electric Boat’s Quonset Point Shipyard in Rhode Island for the keel laying ceremony of SSN 786.

Now the USS Illinois named after Mrs. Obama’s home state is ready to be christened.

She is the ship’s sponsor while her daughters Sasha and Melia are its maids of honor.

“Know that you have three really solid Chicago girls that are very excited to support this vessel,” the First Lady told shipyard workers and the pre-commissioning crew at last year’s ceremony.

Now much of the same crew will be at Electric Boat in Groton Saturday for the submarine’s christening.

“These guys they work really hard constructing the ship getting all the systems on line and just an event like this is another milestone for these guys to be almost done and almost out of the shipyard and part of the navy,” said Mike Quan who is the past commander of the USS Providence.

danielle's barber groton
(WTNH/Tina Detelj)

News 8 caught up with him at Danielle’s Barber on the Thames where a lot of folks have been talking about the first lady’s visit.

“They don’t know how long she’ll be here and that it’s gonna be… the street’s are going to blocked off,” said Sophia DiPaolo a barber at Danielle’s. “So it’s pretty exciting.”

danielle's barber groton 2
(WTNH/Tina Detelj)

A possible boost in business and a boost in morale for all those who got the Illinois to this point.

“I know the crew they’ve been working really hard for this and the shipyard also they work really hard for this event,” said Quan.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:00 Saturday morning.

Mrs. Obama will make some remarks and then christen the submarine by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine on its hull.

News 8 has learned her daughters who are the maids of honor for the ship are not expected to attend.

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