USS Illinois commissioned in Groton - WFSB 3 Connecticut

USS Illinois commissioned in Groton

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USS Illinois which was commissioned Saturday. (WFSB) USS Illinois which was commissioned Saturday. (WFSB)
The first lady, governor and other officials stand during commissioning ceremony. (WFSB) The first lady, governor and other officials stand during commissioning ceremony. (WFSB)
Crews were setting up for the USS Illinois commissioning event. (WFSB) Crews were setting up for the USS Illinois commissioning event. (WFSB)
GROTON, CT (WFSB/AP) -

The submarine officially became the USS Illinois and started active service at a ceremony Saturday in Groton. 

The first lady will give the order "to bring the ship to life" before the crew runs across the brow, onto the vessel.

The ceremony kicked off Saturday morning, but Eyewitness News got an inside look at the USS Illinois ahead of this exciting event.

First lady Michelle Obama is taking part in a commissioning ceremony for the U.S. Navy attack submarine named for her home state of Illinois.

The American flag was raised on the deck of the USS Illinois, one day before the Navy's newest attack submarine would be commissioned by the first lady. 

The first lady, who was born in the state of Illinois, has made supporting military families a priority. As the ship sponsor, she will be involved in the lives of its sailors and families.  

"Without their craftsmanship and diligence in building this ship we couldn't do what we do,” Captain Jess Porter said. “I mean they have built a wonderful, marvelous and powerful warship."

The USS Illinois was built at the nearby electric boat shipyard and will be the Navy's 13th Virginia-class attack submarine.

Eyewitness News got an inside look at this vessel ahead of Saturday morning's event. The nearly 150 crew members call this ship a home away from home. 

This ship has the capability to attack targets ashore with accurate cruise missiles as well as conduct covert long-term surveillance.   

"Seeing it separately and seeing it come together I think I have a better appreciation for all that it takes to put in to building this ship,” Scott Wiscons, who is the Petty Officer for the USS Illinois, said.

It took submarine supply businesses nationwide and thousands of shipyard employees in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia to build the $2.7 billion submarine.

The USS Illinois is the 13th member of the Virginia class.

U.S. Joe Courtney and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal spoke at the event. 

To see pictures on your mobile device, click here

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.