Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus joined Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to announce that the name of the Department of the Navy’s fourth Joint High Speed Vessel will be USNS Fall River (JHSV 4), during a brief ceremony at Heritage State Park on the Fall River waterfront.
"The Fall River represents the physical embodiment of the City of Fall River's patriotic spirit,” said Mabus, “and the dedication of the thousands of young men and women from this city who have worn and continue to wear the uniform of our country all over the world." USNS Fall River will be the second ship to hold the name of the city. The first, USS Fall River, was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser commissioned in 1945 and used largely on training missions. The tip of the bow of the decommissioned cruiser is on display at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.
"This is a great day for the city of Fall River, and for the Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I am honored to be here with Secretary Mabus as we commission the USNS Fall River in the name of the sons and daughters of Massachusetts who served with such nobility. The USNS Fall River will carry with it the honor and rich history of Massachusetts, a proud history we celebrate for its role in granting liberty and freedom."
Joint high speed vessels are ideal for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, supplies and equipment. They are capable of transporting 600 short tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. Additionally, JHSV will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 104.
Military commanders will have the flexibility to use JHSV in a variety of roles to include supporting overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.
JHSV 4 will be constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., as part of the joint effort between the Army and the Navy to acquire 10 of these high-speed vessels, five for the Army and five for the Navy. Each service will be responsible for operating and maintaining its vessels following delivery.