Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus joined Ackerman, Miss., Mayor Dick Cain to announce today that the name of the Department of the Navy's next Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) will be United States Naval Ship (USNS) Choctaw County, during a brief ceremony today at Ackerman High School, Ackerman, Miss.
"I grew up in Choctaw County, Miss., where people work hard to raise their families and provide for their children," Mabus said. "I chose to name JHSV after Choctaw County to honor those men and women who represent rural America."
This will be the first naval vessel to serve as the county's namesake, an honor shared by Choctaw counties also located in Alabama and Oklahoma. Capable of transporting 600 short tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots , the JHSV can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. Joint High Speed Vessels also have an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. Additionally the ships have berthing space for up to 146 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.
Military commanders will have the flexibility to use the JHSV in a variety of roles to include supporting overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Choctaw County will be designated as a United States Naval Ship and will have a core crew of 21 civilian mariners to operate and navigate the ship. The USNS Choctaw County will be constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.