The Navy will christen and launch the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, during a 10 a.m. PDT ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, Calif. The ship is named to honor Naval aviation pioneer Capt. Washington Chambers.
Rear Adm. Richard J. O'Hanlon, commander Naval Air Force Atlantic, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Loretta Penn, wife of former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment and former Acting Secretary of the Navy, B.J. Penn, is the sponsor, and in accordance with Navy tradition, will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship.
Continuing the Lewis and Clark-class (T-AKE) tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, the Navy’s newest underway replenishment ship recognizes Chambers for his major role in the early development of Naval aviation. Responsible for the Navy’s emerging aviation activities, Chambers arranged the world’s first airplane flight from a warship. The Nov. 14, 1910, flight by aviator Eugene Ely on the light cruiser USS Birmingham confirmed the potential of carrier-based naval aviation.
Designated T-AKE 11, Washington Chambers is the 11th ship of the 14-ship class. As a combat logistics force ship, Washington Chambers will help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea.
T-AKE 11 is the first Navy ship named after Chambers. As part of Military Sealift Command’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, Washington Chambers is designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and will be crewed by 129 civil service mariners and 11 Navy sailors. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry two helicopters. The ship is 689 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, has a navigational draft of 30 feet, displaces approximately 42,000 tons, and is capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots using a single-shaft, diesel-electric propulsion system.
Additional information about the T-AKE class of ship is available on line at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4400&tid=500&ct=4 ..