Austal celebrated the christening of Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) the future USNS Burlington (EPF 10) with a ceremony at its state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility this morning. Burlington is the tenth of 12 EPFs that Austal has under contract with the U.S. Navy with a combined value of over $1.9 billion.
“Austal is excited to get Burlington one step closer to joining the fleet” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle
. “The efficiency at which this complex ship has come together is truly remarkable and a testament to the incredible talent of our shipbuilding professionals here at Austal USA.”
Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, Commander, Military Sealift Command, spoke at today’s event. “T-EPFs are operating around the world supporting maritime security operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, logistics support, and multiple international and joint exercises,” said Mewbourne. “The Expeditionary Fast Transport class, characterized by speed, capacity, adaptability, and innovation, is part of the Navy the Nation Needs to support our National Defense Strategy.”
The ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Marcelle Leahy, headlined the group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees who attended the ceremony beneath the hull of the ship in Austal’s final assembly bay. Mrs. Leahy was introduced by the Honorable Patrick Leahy, U. S. Senator from Vermont.
Born in Newport, Vermont, Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy is a first-generation American born of Canadian parents. Married to Senator Leahy for over 55 years, she has sustained a career as a Registered Nurse and has long been a civic stalwart, serving as the honorary chair of the Vermont National Guard Family Readiness and Support Program, where she raised awareness of the selflessness and sacrifices of members of the armed forces and their families, as well as the challenges they face upon reintegrating after deployment.
A melanoma survivor, Marcelle Leahy has long served on the board of Tracy's Kids, an organization dedicated to young cancer patients and their families. She also lends her skill and insights to medical organizations throughout the state, where she serves on the Board of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences of the University of Vermont and as a Sustaining Director of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
“There isn’t a more appropriate sponsor for this amazing ship than Marcelle Leahy. Her display of patriotism in her service to the Vermont National Guard along with her involvement in other humanitarian causes makes her the perfect choice for this important role,” said Perciavalle. “Her level of commitment to the ship and her crew match that of Austal’s employees to every job they take on. They are the best at what they do and I am honored to work with them every day.”
Nine Spearhead-class EPFs have been delivered and are serving as an affordable solution to fulfilling the Military Sealift Command’s requirements worldwide. USNS City of Bismarck was delivered to the Navy in late 2017 and three more EPFs are under construction at Austal’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.
In addition to being in full rate production for the EPF program, Austal is also the Navy’s prime contractor for the Independence-variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. Austal has delivered six LCS, another will be delivered next week, while an additional six are in various stages of construction.