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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 117-97
March 14, 1997

NAVY CHRISTENS NEWEST ROLL-ON/ROLL-OFF CARGO SHIP USNS BOB HOPE (T-AKR 300)

The U.S. Navy will christen its newest roll-on/roll-off cargo ship at Avondale Industries Inc., New Orleans, La., during a ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 15, 1997.

The ship, to be named USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300), will honor legendary entertainer Bob Hope for his more than 50 years of special support to U.S. military forces stationed around the world. Through the generous gift of his time and humor, this patriotic American brought a piece of home to service members serving our country abroad in both peace and war. When Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton made the announcement that the new class of ships would be named for Bob Hope, he called Mr. Hope a military hero and said, We can never repay him for his contributions to the men and women in uniform, but we can show our appreciation with a class of ships named in his honor. This is our way of saying Thanks for the memories.'

The Honorable John H. Dalton will deliver the principal address at the christening ceremony. Serving as ship's sponsor is Dolores Hope, wife of the ship's namesake. In the time- honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Hope will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name the ship.

The first in a new class of Large Medium Speed Roll-On/Roll- Off (LMSR) sealift ships, USNS Bob Hope will be operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C. Bob Hope's 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. Bob Hope is 950 feet in length, has a beam of 105 feet and displaces approximately 62,000 tons. The diesel-powered ship will be able to sustain speeds up to 24 knots.

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