Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of its newest dry cargo/ammunition ship, USNS Washington Chambers, during a short ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO Ship Yard San Diego on Feb. 23.
The ship, which was christened and launched Sept. 11, 2010, in San Diego, honors Navy Capt. Washington Irving Chambers, a pioneer in Navy aviation who arranged the world's first airplane flight from a warship Nov. 14, 1910. The flight confirmed the potential for carrier-based naval aviation. Since its launch, the ship has been undergoing a series of tests and trials in preparation for its delivery to MSC.
"I'm always proud to be a part of ceremonies like this one," said Navy Capt. Jerome Hamel, commander Sealift Logistics Command Pacific. "This ship represents the continued growth that MSC is experiencing and our continued commitment in support of our Navy."
Washington Chambers is the eleventh of 14 ships in the T-AKE class of dry cargo/ammunition ships. Eleven will serve as combat logistics force ships, and three are expected to be attached to maritime prepositioning squadrons, which strategically place combat cargo at sea, enabling fast delivery to warfighters ashore.
"Washington Chambers is one of the finest ships I have been privileged to be aboard in my MSC career," said Capt. Mike Flanagan, Chambers' civil service master. "This ship will join the fleet ready to go to work safely, efficiently and with strong purpose."
Chambers has a crew of 104 civil service mariners working for MSC and 11 Navy sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination.
T-AKEs are the newest class of ships being built for MSC. They are replacing some of MSC's aging, single-mission ships such as Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships as they reach the end of their service lives.