The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the names of the Navy’s recently acquired high speed ferries (HSFs); the USNS Guam and the USNS Puerto Rico.
The selection of the name Guam honors the long-standing historical and military relationship between Guam and the United States. This relationship began in 1898 when the United States acquired the island from Spain as a result of the “Treaty of Paris” that ended the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese captured Guam which they occupied until U.S. troops retook the island on July 21, 1944, a date commemorated every year as “Liberation Day”. Guam continues to host many of the United States’ critical military installations in the Pacific Ocean.
Selection of the name Puerto Rico honors the association of Puerto Rico and the United States that dates back to 1898 when Spain ceded control of the island in the Treaty of Paris. Although the initial intent was for the island to serve as a location for rest, coaling and repair stations for the Navy, Puerto Rico has formed a close relationship with the United States. Numerous Puerto Ricans have served proudly and the territory has been home to five Medal of Honor recipients -- Fernando L. Garcia, Carlos James Lozada, Euripides Rubio, Hector Santiago-Colon and Humbert Roque Versace.
“High speed ferries will be used for peacetime operations such as troop transport training, exercise missions and humanitarian and disaster relief,” stated secretary Mabus. “I am pleased that Guam and Puerto Rico will serve as namesakes for these important additions to the fleet, in honor of their strong military heritage and our many shared values.”
Prior to being acquired by the U.S. Navy, both HSFs assisted in humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti while operating under the names Alakai and Huakai. Guam and Puerto Rico are currently being modified to support military operations and to increase the platforms’ endurance by installing crew berthing, sewage treatment plants and water-making equipment.
Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more news from secretary of the Navy public affairs, visit http://www.navy.mil/SECNAV .