The Navy will christen the USNS Robert E. Peary at an 11 a.m. PST ceremony on Feb. 9, 2008. The christening ceremony for the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark class of underway replenishment ships will be held at General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego.
Designated as T-AKE 5, the new ship honors Navy Rear Adm. Robert Edwin Peary, (1856–1920), an American explorer born in Cresson, Pa., who is credited as the first person to reach the geographic North Pole. Peary was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Oct. 26, 1881, and achieved the rank of rear admiral. He was recognized by Congress with a special act on March 30, 1911.
Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while providing replenishment services to U.S., NATO and allied ships, the USNS Robert E. Peary will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence. The ship can provide logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships. The ship will transfer cargo (ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items and expendable supplies and material) to ships and other naval forces at sea. To conduct vertical replenishment, the ship can carry and support two helicopters.
As part of the Military Sealift Command’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, the USNS Robert E. Peary is designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and will be manned by 124 civil service mariners. The ship will also have a military detachment of 11 U.S. Navy sailors to provide operational support and supply coordination, and when needed, the ship will carry a helicopter detachment of 39 military personnel.
The ship was launched on Oct. 27, 2007; however, the planned christening ceremony was delayed as the result of the wild fires threatening the Southern California region.