The Navy will launch and christen the USNS Amelia Earhart at a 9 p.m. PDT ceremony on April 6, 2008. The christening ceremony for the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark (T-AKE) class of underway replenishment ships will be held at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
Designated as T-AKE 6, the new ship honors aviation pioneer Amelia Mary Earhart for her courage, vision and groundbreaking achievements, both in aviation and for women.
Earhart's name became a household word in 1932 when she became the first woman -- and second person -- to fly solo across the Atlantic, flying from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to Londonderry, Ireland. That year, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from the U.S. Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor
from the French government, and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Herbert Hoover. In January 1935, Earhart became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif. Later that year she soloed from Los Angeles to Mexico City and back to Newark, N.J. In July 1936, Earhart took delivery of a Lockheed 10E "Electra," financed by Purdue University, and started planning her around-the-world flight.
Rep. Susan A. Davis, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Earhart’s niece, Amy Kleppner, will serve as ship’s sponsor. The launching ceremony will include the time-honored Navy tradition when the sponsor breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship “Amelia Earhart.”
The USNS Amelia Earhart is the sixth ship in the Navy’s 11-ship T-AKE class. The ship will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry and support two helicopters to conduct vertical replenishment.
As part of Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force,the USNS Amelia Earhart is designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and will be crewed by 124 civil service mariners working for Military Sealift Command’s. The ship will also have a military detachment of 11 U.S. Navy sailors to provide supply coordination.
One previous ship has been named for Earhart. The SS Amelia Earhart was a Liberty ship built in the U.S. during World War II.