The patrol coastal ship, Tornado (PC 14)
, will be commissioned Saturday, June 24, 2000, during 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Nauticus International Pier, Norfolk, Va.
Navy Rear Adm. Thomas W. Steffens, director of the Intelligence and Information Operations Center, U.S. Special Operations Command, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Linda Anne Rich Bowman, wife of Navy Adm. Frank L. "Skip" Bowman, director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, will serve as ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Bowman will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
Ships of this class are named after weather phenomena. One previous ship, the Civil War-era monitor Winnebago, was briefly renamed Tornado from June to August of 1869.
The primary mission of ships in this class is to conduct coast patrol, surveillance and maritime interdiction operations in support of Naval special warfare and other special operations forces. Tornado is equipped with two 25mm MK 38 machine guns; two .50 caliber machine guns; two MK 19 automatic grenade launchers; and six Stinger missiles. The ship can accommodate eight fully-equipped Navy Sea, Air, and Land team members or other special forces personnel.
Navy Lt. R. Trevor King, of Chesapeake, Va., will be the ship's commanding officer with a crew of four officers and 24 enlisted personnel. Tornado will operate out of the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Va. Built by Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La., Tornado is 170 feet in length, has a beam of 25 feet, and displaces 331 tons when fully loaded. Four diesels power the ship to speeds of 35 knots.