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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 088-95
February 23, 1995

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY NAMES NEW ROLL ON/ROLL OFF SHIPS

NAMES NEW ROLL ON/ROLL OFF SHIPS

Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton announced today his decision to name five strategic sealift ships after Medal of Honor recipients. These Large Medium Speed Roll On/Roll Off (LMSR) ships will be operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

These ships are currently undergoing conversion from commercial vessels to sealift ships at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego and at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia. The names Navy Secretary Dalton has assigned are those of Army soldiers awarded the nation's highest military award. They are:

Shughart (T-AKR 295) honors Sergeant First Class Randall D. Shughart of Newville, Pennsylvania, posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Somalia in October of 1993. This ship is being converted at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company and is scheduled for delivery in December 1995.

Gordon (T-AKR 296) honors Master Sergeant Gary I. Gordon of Lincoln, Maine, Medal of Honor recepient for actions in Somalia in October of 1993. The ship is being converted at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company and is scheduled for delivery in December 1995.

Yano (T-AKR 297) honors Sergeant First Class Rodney J.T. Yano of Kailua Kona, Hawaii, posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam in 1969. The ship is being converted by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company and is scheduled for delivery in June 1996.

Gilliland (T-AKR 298) honors Corporal Charles L. Gilliland of Yellville, Arkansas, posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in the Korean War. The ship is being converted by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company and is scheduled for delivery in May 1996. Soderman (T-AKR 299) honors Private First Class William A. Soderman of West Haven, Connecticut, Medal of Honor recipient for actions during World War II. The ship is being converted by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company and is scheduled for delivery in November 1996.

In making the announcement Secretary Dalton said: "I am pleased to be able to honor these Army heroes by naming these ships. Cooperation between the Navy and the Army has never been closer. The Navy's Military Sealift Command provides essential support in helping the Army get its equipment to the battlefield. The utility of roll on/roll off ships was demonstrated during Desert Shield/Desert Storm; in Somalia; Haiti; and the recent activity in the Persian Gulf."

Army Chief of Staff General Gordon Sullivan said: "The LMSR will be the centerpiece of America's power projection sealift into the next century. There is no more fitting tribute to these heroes than to honor their memories and deeds in the naming of these vessels. The soldiers of America's Army are proud and honored that the Secretary of the Navy has chosen this way to honor the memories of these courageous soldiers."

The five converted LMSRs will range from approximately 907 to 954 feet in length. Their roll on/roll off design makes them ideal for transporting tanks, trucks and other wheeled and tracked military vehicles. Each newly converted ship will provide between 316,000 and 332,000 square feet of cargo carrying space. The diesel-powered ships will be able to sustain speeds up to 24 knots.


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