U.S. Navy officials chose Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to christen their newest submarine.
Sandberg, known for her “Lean In” campaign advocating women’s empowerment has a standing relationship with the Navy, according to the Associated Press.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus picked Sandberg to sponsor the USS Massachusetts because of her potential to connect the Navy with the American public, according to Mabus’ spokesman Capt. Patrick McNally.
“Expanding the variety of people who serve as sponsors is another avenue to strengthen that connection,” McNally told the AP in an email.
Women always sponsor naval vessels, but were historically often the wives of senior officers or politicians with close relations to the Navy. As per Navy legend, a sponsor, who christens the ship, is said to leave a ship with her personality.
Sandberg has previously offered Mabus praise for reforming Navy personnel policies to give women more power. In 2010, the Navy lifted its ban on women serving aboard submarines.