The Navy will christen the newest San Antonio Class amphibious ship, New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2004, during an 11 a.m. CST ceremony at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems - Avondale Operations, Avondale (New Orleans), La.
The New Orleans honors the largest city of Louisiana and one of the worlds three largest seaports. In the past century, three naval ships have carried the name New Orleans.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark will deliver the ceremonys principal address. Carolyn Shelton, wife of Gen. Henry H. Shelton, former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, is serving as the ships sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted in the time-honored Navy tradition when Shelton christens the ship by breaking a bottle of champagne across the ships bow to formally name New Orleans.
Cmdr. John B. (Brad) Skillman, born in Muncie, Ind., and raised in St. Paris, Ohio, will be the first commanding officer of the ship. The New Orleans crew will consist of 360 officers and enlisted Navy personnel and is capable of embarking a landing force of approximately 800 Marines. The ship is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet and displaces approximately 24,900 tons. Four turbo-charged diesels power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots.
New Orleans is the second ship in the Navys new San Antonio Class. As a critical element in future Expeditionary Strike Groups, the ship will support the Marine Corps mobility triad, which consists of the LCAC (landing craft air cushion), the expeditionary fighting vehicle, and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). Furthermore, the ship will provide improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capacity in vehicle and cargo-carrying capability, and advanced ship-survivability features.
For additional information about this class of ship, please visit the Navy Fact File: