By Anna Hancock, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
Military Sealift Command (MSC) accepted delivery of dry/cargo ammunition ship USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE-5) in , June 5. The ship was built by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company.
Named in honor of Navy Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary, leader of the first expedition to the North Pole, the ship is the fifth in the Lewis and Clark-class of underway replenishment ships with the designation T-AKE-5.
The ships' primary mission is to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy's underway carrier and expeditionary strike groups allowing them to stay at sea for extended periods of time.
The T-AKEs will replace some of MSC's aging, single-mission ships such as Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships that are nearing the end of their service lives.
At the end of July, the 689-ft. Peary will go a short 'shakedown cruise' where the ship's crew will test a range of shipboard operations. By the end of the summer, Peary will depart for her homeport in , to soon deploy on its first operational mission.
Peary has a crew of 124 civil service mariners working for MSC, as well as a military detachment of 11 Sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination. When needed, Peary can also carry a helicopter detachment.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed forces and coalition partners.