The U.S. Navy will officially name its newest Roll-on/Roll-off Cargo Ship in honor of a U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient on Saturday, Feb. 28, 1998, during a 9:30 a.m. (PST) naming ceremony at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., in San Diego, Calif.
The ship will be named USNS Sisler (T-AKR 311) in honor of U.S. Army 1st Lt. George K. Sisler, (1937-1967), a native of Dexter, Mo.
Sisler was awarded the nation's highest military award for gallantry while serving as a platoon leader/advisor to a Special U.S./Vietnamese Exploitation Force.
On Feb. 7, 1967, while on patrol deep in enemy dominated territory, Sisler's platoon was attacked from three sides by a company-sized enemy force.
Calling for air strikes, and moving among his men to encourage and direct their efforts, Sisler quickly rallied his men, and deployed them to a better defensive position.
Under more intensive weapons fire by the enemy, he realized the need for instant action to prevent his position from being overrun.
A single-handed charge by Sisler, using rifle fire and grenades, halted the attack and forced the enemy to withdraw.
He continued to move about the field, directing air strikes on enemy positions until he was mortally wounded.
His extraordinary leadership, infinite courage, and selfless concern for his men saved the lives of many of his comrades.
For this action he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Vice Adm. James B. Perkins III, commander, Military Sealift Command, is the ceremony's principal speaker.
Serving as ship's sponsor is Mrs. Jane B. Sisler, widow of the ship's namesake.
The new Large Medium-Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off (LMSR) ship was constructed at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. in San Diego, Calif.
The ship will be operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C.
USNS Sisler's roll on/roll-off design will enable the U.S. Navy to forward deploy helicopters, tanks, trucks and other military vehicles.
USNS Sisler is 950 feet in length, has a beam of 105 feet, displaces approximately 62,000 tons when fully loaded and has approximately 380,000 square feet of cargo carrying space.
The gas turbine-powered ship will be able to sustain speeds up to 24 knots.
A total of 19 LMSRs, both existing ship conversion and new construction, are planned to be delivered by U.S. shipyards by the year 2001 under the Strategic Sealift Program being managed by the Naval Sea Systems Command.
This fleet is intended to satisfy the nation's need for increased sealift readiness and capacity to provide rapid delivery of urgently needed support and equipment to a theater of operations during crisis.