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Navy's Newest Replenishment Ship Launched in San Diego

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070517-14
Release Date: 5/17/2007 2:30:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman José R. Rolón, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy’s newest underway replenishment vessel, USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE-4), was christened and launched from the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego on May 15.

“This ship is a great acquisition for United States and a great advancement for the Navy,” said Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. “A great ship like this will provide the support for all the activities overseas for the next 40 or more years.”

USNS Byrd is the fourth ship in the Navy's new 11-ship T-AKE class and will deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy's carrier and expeditionary strike groups and other naval forces underway. T-AKEs have the largest cargo-carrying capacity and the largest flight deck of any combat logistics force ship.

“The T-AKE ship we will launch today is not just 250,000 tons of steel. It is 250,000 tons of quality, technology and support to the naval forces,” said Rear Adm. Charles H. Goddard, program executive officer, ships. “God bless the crew of USNS Richard E. Byrd and America.”

The 689-foot ship can deliver 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships.

Richard E. Byrd’s civil service master Capt. Robert Jaeger is excited to see his ship in the water and one step closer to carrying out its role in the fleet.

“She will increase the supporting capabilities,” said Jaeger. “Prior to the launching of the ship, it was just a constructed piece of metal, the moment it touched the water for the first time she became a ship -- and that is a wonderful feeling for me.”

USNS Byrd is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy's Military Selift Command in November of this year and will be crewed by 124 civil service mariners and 11 miliary personnel.

“This is all possible because of the really good team work between the Navy and the shipyard,” said Frederick J. Harris, president of NASSCO. “Without that teamwork we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this successfully.”

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