General Dynamics NASSCO launches the U.S. Navy's newest re-supply ship, 'USNS Cesar Chavez' (T-AKE 14)
The ceremony took place at the NASSCO shipyard. Juan M. Garcia III, assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs, was the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Helen Chavez, widow of Cesar Chavez and the ship's sponsor, christened the ship by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against its bow. The ship is named in honor of Cesar Estrada Chavez, the labor leader who founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA).
"This celebration marks the culmination of a successful U.S. shipbuilding program that has spanned nearly a decade," said Fred Harris, President of General Dynamics NASSCO. "The workmanship of the thousands of people who labored to bring these 14 cargo ships to existence will live on for years to come as these great ships traverse the world, replenishing naval forces across the globe and serving as a critical component of humanitarian aid missions."
USNS Cesar Chavez is the final ship of a class of 14 T-AKE dry cargo-ammunition ships for the Navy. NASSCO began constructing the 689-foot-long ship in October 2010. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in fourth quarter 2012. The T-AKE class incorporates international marine technologies and commercial ship-design features, including an integrated electric-drive propulsion system, to minimize operating costs over its projected 40-year service life. When the USNS Cesar Chavez joins the fleet, its primary mission will be to deliver more than 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships at sea.