The U.S. Navy's newest resupply ship, the Sacagawea, is slated to be christened and launched into San Diego Bay in a ceremony on June 24. The General Dynamics NASSCO designed and built the ship in San Diego
The Sacagawea is named in honor of the Native American woman who helped guide and interpret for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Two of Sacagawea's descendents, Mrs. Lucy Diaz and Ms. Rachel Ariwite, both of Bingham County, Idaho, are the ship's sponsors and will christen it with bottles of champagne. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is the ceremony's principal speaker.
Sacagawea is the second ship of an expected class of 11 T-AKE (pronounced
as individual letters without the dash) dry cargo and ammunition ships.
General Dynamics NASSCO has contracts to build the first nine ships and
will deliver the first ship, USNS Lewis and Clark, to the Navy tomorrow,
June 20. Construction of Sacagawea began in September of 2004. The ship
is scheduled to be delivered into the Navy's Military Sealift Command
fleet early next year. When in service, its name will be preceded by
"USNS" for United States Naval Ship. It is the third Navy vessel to be
named Sacagawea. The previous two vessels were harbor tugboats in service
during World War II.