Navy Christens USNS Lewis and Clark

Monday, May 23, 2005
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Navy christened the lead ship of the latest class of underway replenishment ships, USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1), May 21, during an 8:00 p.m. launching at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego.

The name Lewis and Clark will honor the two legendary explorers who led a visionary project that was to become one of American history's greatest adventure stories.

Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Jerry Lewis of California, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Descendants from the families of Capt. Meriwether Lewis and then-Lt. William Clark, Jane Lewis Sale Henley and Lisa Clark, will serve as sponsors of the ship. The launching ceremony will be highlighted in the time-honored Navy tradition when the sponsors christen the ship by breaking bottles of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship "Lewis and Clark."

Lewis and Clark is the lead ship in the Navy's new 12-ship T-AKE Class and will serve as the functional replacement of the T-AE 26 class (ammunition ship), T-AFS 1/8 class (combat stores ship), which are at the end of their service lives. To conduct vertical replenishment, the ship will support two military cargo logistics helicopters or two equivalent commercial helicopters and associated aviation personnel.

Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while providing replenishment services to U.S. and NATO ships, the Lewis and Clark will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a world-wide forward presence. These ships will provide logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships. They will transfer this cargo (ammunition; food; limited quantities of fuel; repair parts; ship store items and expendable supplies and material) to station ships and other naval warfare forces at sea.

The U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command in Washington will operate Lewis and Clark as part of it's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. The ship is 689 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 30 feet, and displaces approximately 41,000 tons. Powered by a single-shaft diesel-electric propulsion system, the ship can reach a speed of 20 knots.

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