The Navy will christen its newest roll-on/roll-off cargo ship the USNS Pomeroy (T-AKR 316), at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, Calif., at 9 a.m. PST, Saturday, March 10, 2001.
The ship will honor Army Pfc. Ralph E. Pomeroy, (1930-1952), awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while manning a machine-gun in Korea on Oct. 15, 1952. Protecting his platoon's flank, Pomeroy opened fire on enemy soldiers as they advanced toward his firing position, causing severe casualties and halting the attack. He maintained heavy fire despite increasingly intense artillery and mortar fire. After a mortar burst wounded him and destroyed his gun mount, Pomeroy cradled the machine gun in his arms and raked the attacking forces with fire. When he expended his ammunition, he used the machine gun as a club in hand-to-hand combat until mortally wounded. No previous ship has been named Pomeroy.
Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham of California will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Arlene Castle, sister of the ship's namesake, will serve as ship sponsor and, in the time-honored Navy tradition, will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship. Another sister, Nancy Pomeroy, will serve as the maid of honor.
The seventh in the Watson class of large, medium speed, roll-on/roll-off sealift ships, Pomeroy is a non-combatant vessel. It will be manned by civilian mariners and operated by the 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. Pomeroy is 950 feet in length, has a beam of 105.8 feet and displaces approximately 62,000 long tons. The gas turbine-powered ship will be able to sustain speeds up to 24 knots.
More information on Watson class sealift ships is on the Web at http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-takr2.html .