By The Department of Defense Public Affairs
The Navy will christen the USNS Robert E. Peary on Feb. 9, 2008. 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.
Designated as T-AKE 5, the new ship honors Navy 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 by 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, the USNS 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.
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.