Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton will announce the winner of the nation-wide "Name that Ship" contest in a ceremony to be held at the U.S. Navy Memorial at 6 p.m. (EDT) Friday, June 5th.
This is the first time in history that the U.S. Navy has invited students in grades K-12 nationwide to choose a name for one of its new ships. Normal procedure within the Navy for naming new ships has professional Navy historians sending well-researched recommendations up to the secretary of the Navy, who chooses among these recommendations for each new ship's name.
The Navy's newest T-AGS 60 class oceanographic survey ship is now under construction, and is scheduled for launch in late 1998. This date coincides with the United Nations General Assembly's Resolution, in its Forty-ninth session, to make 1998 the International Year of the Oceans.
The new ship, being built in Moss Point, Miss., is now simply known by its hull number, T-AGS 64. The Navy's contest to name the new ship began at the beginning of this school year when the Navy League of the United States sent out more than 100,000 announcement posters to every school in the country, and both the Navy and the National Geographic Society posted websites announcing the student contest. Interested students formed teams to decide on names and develop school projects that supported their name proposals. The contest ended on December 31st with more than 2,000 entries received nationwide.
Nine 5th graders in Oak Lawn Elementary School in Cranston, R.I., and twenty-one 6th, 7th and 8th graders in St. Martin's Lutheran School in Annapolis, Md., have made it to the top in the Navy's nationwide contest to find a name for its newest multi-purpose oceanographic survey ship.
The Cranston team chose the name USNS BRUCE C. HEEZEN, after an American oceanographer known for his work on plate tectonics and sea floor mapping. Heezen died while conducting research aboard the Navy's deep submersible submarine, NR 1. The Annapolis team recommended USNS CORIOLIS, for the shift in the direction of the wind due to the rotation of the earth on its axis. With 1998 the International Year of the Ocean, the student team hopes that this year the world will shift its thinking about how we treat the world's oceans and seas.
The winning team will be invited to the christening and launch of the ship later this year.
Representatives from both student teams will be in Washington, D.C., Friday when Dalton announces the name of the new vessel.
For more information contact Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, Gail S. Cleere at (202) 762-1045 or Office of the Navy Chief of Information, Lt. j.g. Steve Mavica at (703) 697-5342.