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Release No: 592-96
October 17, 1996


The oceanographic survey ship USNS Henson (T-AGS 63) will be christened during a 1 p.m. ceremony at Halter Marine in Moss Point, Miss. on Monday, October 21, 1996.

The ship is named in honor of Matthew A. Henson (1866-1955) who along with Adm. Robert E. Peary, USN, discovered the North Pole on April 6, 1909. Henson served with Peary over a period of 23 years, taking part in seven expeditions.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Hagan, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. His wife, Mrs. Cathy L. Hagan, will serve as ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Hagan will break a bottle of champagne across the bow and formally name the ship.

Distinguished guests attending the ceremony will include: Mississippi Senator Trent Lott; Adm. Jay L. Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations; Rear Adm. Paul E. Tobin, Jr., Oceanographer of the Navy; Rear Adm. Paul G. Gaffney, II, Commander, Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command; Rear Adm. David Sargent, Jr., Program Executive Officer, Carriers, Littoral Warfare & Auxiliary Ships; Rear Adm. Pierce J. Johnson, USNR, Readiness Commander, Region SIX and former Deputy Commander, Military Sealift Command; Rear Adm. Joseph C. Hare, USNR, Commander, Military Sealift Command, Atlantic (Mobilization); and Mr. John Dane, President, Trinity Marine Group.

Henson is the latest of four oceanographic vessels in the T- AGS 60 Class authorized to be built by Congress. Multimission oceanographic ships are capable of effectively performing operations that will satisfy a broad spectrum of oceanographic requirements in coastal and deep water areas, including physical, chemical and biological oceanography, multidisciplinary environment investigation, ocean engineering and marine acoustics, marine geology and geophysics, and magnetometric surveying.

The ship is crewed by civilian-mariners of the Military Sealift Command who will operate the vessel for the Oceanographer of the Navy. The ship is 329 feet in length, has a beam of 58 feet and displaces approximately 4,200 tons when fully loaded.

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