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updated: 6/2/2014 9:38 AM

First lady in Rhode Island for USS Illinois ceremony

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Associated Press

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- First lady Michelle Obama is traveling to Rhode Island to participate in a keel-laying ceremony for a submarine that will become the USS Illinois.

She is scheduled to speak Monday at Electric Boat's manufacturing plant in North Kingstown to mark the start of construction on the 13th Virginia-class submarine.

The first lady is the ship's sponsor. In a Navy tradition, she is expected to write her initials on a metal plate, which will then be made permanent by a welder and later mounted on the submarine.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus also is scheduled to be at the ceremony to deliver the keynote address.

The $2.7 billion boat is expected to be delivered to the Navy in August 2016.

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