The U.S. Navy will christen its newest roll-on/roll-off cargo ship at Avondale Industries, New Orleans, La., during a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday, October 18, 1997,
The ship will be named USNS Fisher (T-AKR 301) to honor Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, two Americans, who through their generous support, have committed their lives to improving the quality of life of the nation's sailors, Marines, airmen and soldiers. The couple's many efforts on behalf of military personnel include donations to the families of slain service members, scholarships, and the Fisher House Program. Fisher Houses are located at military installations and VA Hospitals across the country and provide a comfortable temporary home for families of servicemembers who have been hospitalized far away from home. No previous U.S. Navy ship has been named Fisher.
Rep. C. W. Bill Young of Florida will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Serving as ship's sponsor is Dr. Sunie Kenowsky-Irving. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Kenowsky-Irving will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship.
The second in the new Bob Hope class of Large, Medium Speed, Roll-On/Roll-Off (LMSR) sealift ships, Fisher is a non-combatant vessel, crewed by civilian mariners and operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C. Its roll-on/roll-off design makes it ideal for transporting helicopters, tanks and other wheeled and tracked military vehicles. The ship will have approximately 390,000 square feet of cargo carrying space. Fisher is 950 feet in length, has a beam of 105 feet and displaces approximately 62,000 tons. The diesel-powered ship will be able to sustain speeds up to 24 knots.