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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 504-95
September 18, 1995

NAVY TO COMMISSION FAST COMBAT

SUPPORT SHIP ARCTIC (AOE 8)

The Navy will commission the fast combat support ship Arctic (AOE 8) at 11 a.m., Saturday, September 16, 1995, at Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia.

Senator J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana will be the ceremony's principal speaker.

Also in attendance will be his wife, Mary. She christened the ship in October 1993.

Deborah P. Christie, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management, will also speak.

Arctic commemorates the service of four previous U.S. Navy ships of the same name. The first was a steamer (1855-1859) which rescued the arctic explorer Elisha K. Kane and his expeditionary party in 1855, after a hazardous 84-day journey to arctic regions. The second was a sidewheel steamer originally called Ice Boat No. 3 and later renamed Arctic in 1898. The ship served as a refrigerator ship until later that same year when it was decommissioned. The third was a wooden-hulled steam tug (1918-1919) which served on convoy and escort duty in the Atlantic theater during World War I. The fourth was a steel-hulled freighter (1921-1946) which served as a stores ship during World War II.

Arctic is the third of four ships authorized for construction in the Navy's new Fast Combat Support Class. Arctic is a large replenishment ship designed to operate in support of a joint task group, providing petroleum products, munitions, and other supplies to aircraft carriers and surface combatants. The ship is 754 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 107 feet and displaces approximately 49,000 tons fully loaded. The ship will have a crew of 28 officers and 538 Sailors, of which about 20 percent will be women. Captain John O'Neill, USN, a native of Wilson, North Carolina, will be the ship's commanding officer.

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