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Navy commissions supply ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3)

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    Navy commissions supply ship named for astronaut Alan Shepard By Steve Liewer UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER 12:31 p.m. December 6, 2006 HOWARD LIPIN /
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2007
      Navy commissions supply ship named for astronaut Alan Shepard
      By Steve Liewer

      12:31 p.m. December 6, 2006

      HOWARD LIPIN / Union-Tribune
      The supply ship Alan Shepard awaits its christening Wednesday morning.
      SAN DIEGO – In a spray of champagne and with a blast of its horn, the Navy's newest supply ship, the Alan Shepard, slid down a ramp into San Diego Bay Wednesday morning.

      The ship is named in honor of the first American in space, whose brief suborbital flight on May 5, 1961, put the United States in the race with the Soviet Union to put the first man on the moon.

      Shepard later traveled to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission. He died in 1998.

      Shepard's oldest daughter – Laura Churchley, flanked by sisters Juliana Jenkins and Alice Wackermann – stood on a platform and cracked the ceremonial champagne bottle on the ship's bow. She raised her arms in a “V” and smiled at the cheering crowd.

      She said she thought her father would be thrilled with the honor.

      “Because he served on an aircraft carrier, it's an extension of his Navy career,” Churchley said.

      The launch followed by 11 months the laying of the keel at the General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard. About 600 NASSCO workers and dignitaries attended the event, including former Apollo astronauts Bill Anders and Eugene Cernan, and John Sununu, President George H.W. Bush's chief of staff and the former governor of Shepard's native state, New Hampshire.

      The Alan Shepard is the third of eight Navy supply ships NASSCO has contracted to build. All are named for famous American explorers. The first was christened the Lewis and Clark, who explored the American West more than 200 years ago, and the second for Sacagawea, an Indian woman who served as their guide.

      The fourth ship, named for polar explorer Richard Byrd, is under construction and is set to be launched in May.

      General Dynamics NASSCO

      News Releases

      General Dynamics NASSCO Delivers USNS Alan Shepard

      June 26, 2007 - SAN DIEGO - General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), today delivered USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) to the U.S. Navy. The ship is named in honor of the late Mercury and Apollo astronaut.

      “As demonstrated on its recent Integrated Sea Trials, the Alan Shepard has exceeded expectations in its superior material condition and readiness for service,” said Frederick J. Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “Like its namesake, we are confident that the ship has the right stuff to execute its mission for many years to come.”

      USNS Alan Shepard will remain in San Diego for about three months to conduct crew familiarization and final outfitting. The ship will be part of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command fleet and will operate in support of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. With a cargo capacity of more than 10,000 tons, Alan Shepard’s primary mission will be to deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions from shore stations to combat ships at sea.

      The Alan Shepard is the third in an expected class of 11 dry cargo-ammunition ships for the Navy. Construction of the 689-foot-long ship began in September 2005. NASSCO has incorporated international marine technologies and commercial ship-design features into the T-AKE class ships, including an integrated electric-drive propulsion system, to minimize operating costs during their projected 40-year service life. The San Diego shipyard has contracts to build the first nine ships. USNS Lewis and Clark and USNS Sacagawea have already been delivered to the Navy. The fourth through seventh ships of the class are currently under construction.

      General Dynamics NASSCO employs more than 4,600 people and is the only major ship construction yard on the West Coast of the United States. In addition to the T-AKE program, the San Diego shipyard will begin construction on the first of nine product carriers for U.S. Shipping Partners L.P., in August. More information about NASSCO can be found at

      General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 82,600 people worldwide and had 2006 revenues of $24.1 billion. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about the company is available online at www.generaldynamics.com.

      US Navy Fact File Logo 


      Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships - T-AKE
      One dry cargo/ammunition ship operated by Military Sealift Command provides multi-product combat logistics support to the Navy fleet. USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1), the class lead ship, is a new Combat Logistics Force (CLF) underway replenishment vessel intended to replace the current capability of the Kilauea-class (T-AE 26) Ammunition Ship, Mars-class (T-AFS 1) Combat Stores Ships, and when operating in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-class (T-AO 187) Oiler ship, the Sacramento-class (AOE 1) Fast Combat Support Ship. The T-AKE Program calls for up to 12 ships and has a budget of approximately $4B. The program resides within the Navy's Program Executive Office, Expeditionary Warfare - Support Ships Boats and Craft Program Office (PEO EXW/PMS 325).
      As an auxiliary support ship, T-AKE will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a forward presence. In its primary mission role, the T-AKE will provide logistic lift from sources of supply such as friendly ports, or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships by consolidation, and will transfer cargo (ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items, and expendable supplies and material) at sea to station ships and other naval warfare forces. In its secondary mission, the T-AKE may be required to operate in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-Class (T-AO 187) Oiler as a substitute station ship to provide direct logistics support to the ships within a Carrier Battle Group.
      The primary goal of the T-AKE program is to provide effective fleet underway replenishment capability at the lowest life cycle cost. To meet that goal, the ship will be designed and constructed to commercial specifications & standards and certified/classed by the American Bureau of Shipping, United States Coast Guard, and other regulatory bodies. All of the new ships will be operated by the Military Sealift Command. They are being built in San Diego by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company. USNS Lewis and Clark delivered to MSC 15 June 2006. The remaining ships will deliver over the next several years.
      Point Of Contact
      NAVSEA Public Affairs
      Naval Sea Systems Command
      Arlington, DC 22242-5160
      General Characteristics, Lewis and Clark Class
      Length: 689 feet (210 meters).
      Beam: 106 feet (32.31 meters).
      Displacement: 40,539 long ton (41,187.62 metric tons) full load.
      Draft: 29.5 feet (8.99 meters).
      Speed: 20 knots (23 mph).
      Range: 14,000 nautical miles @ 20 knots.
      Load: Max Dry Cargo Volume: 1,388,000 cubic feet
      Max Cargo Fuel Volume: 26,000 barrels.
      Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1)
      Sacagawea (T-AKE 2)
      Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) - Under construction
      Richard Byrd (T-AKE 4) - Under Construction
      Last Update: 1 February 2007

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