Navy to Christen Robert E. Peary

Thursday, February 07, 2008
From the Department of Defense The Navy will christen the USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE-5) at an 11 a.m. PST ceremony on Feb. 9. The christening ceremony for the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark class of underway replenishment ships will be held at General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego.

The new ship honors Rear Adm. Robert Edwin Peary, (1856-1920), an American explorer born in Cresson, Pa., who is credited as the first person to reach the geographic North Pole. Peary was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Oct. 26, 1881, and achieved the rank of rear admiral. He was recognized by Congress with a special act on March 30, 1911.

Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Peary S. Fowler, county circuit court judge for Monroe County, Fl., will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her great-grandfather. The launching ceremony will be highlighted in the time-honored Navy tradition when the sponsor breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship "Robert E. Peary."

Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while providing replenishment services to U.S., NATO and allied ships, Robert E. Peary will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence. The ship can provide logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships. The ship will transfer cargo (ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items and expendable supplies and material) to ships and other naval forces at sea. To conduct vertical replenishment, the ship can carry and support two helicopters.

As part of the Military Sealift Command's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, Robert E. Peary will be manned by 124 civil service mariners. The ship will also have a military detachment of 11 Sailors to provide operational support and supply coordination, and when needed, the ship will carry a helicopter detachment of 39 military personnel. The ship was launched on Oct. 27, 2007; however, the planned christening ceremony was delayed as the result of the wild fires threatening the Southern California region.

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