Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart in San Diego, Oct. 30. The ship was built by General Dynamics NASSCO.
Earhart, named in honor of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, is the sixth in the Lewis and Clark-class of underway replenishment ships. These ships - called T-AKEs - 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, on station and combat ready for extended periods of time.
"Earhart and the other dry cargo/ammunition ships are relieving ships that have been sustaining our Navy task forces at sea for nearly 40 years," said Tim McCully, deputy commander of MSC's office in San Diego, Sealift Logistics Command Pacific. "This allows MSC to continue our tradition of reliable service to the fleet."
T-AKEs are replacing 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. Earhart will operate mainly in the Pacific Ocean out of Guam and is anticipated to begin conducting missions for MSC in summer 2009.
In early December, the 689-foot Earhart will go on a short "shakedown cruise" where the ship's crew will test a range of shipboard operations.
Earhart has a crew of 124 civil service mariners working for MSC and 11 sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination. When needed, Earhart can also carry a helicopter detachment.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-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 U.S. forces and coalition partners.
(Source: U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command)