Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton has announced that the second ship of the
Bob Hope Class of sealift ships will be named after Zachary and Elizabeth
Fisher, two Americans that have committed their lives to improving the quality
of life of the Nation's Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Soldiers.
The USNS Fisher will be one of the six large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off
ships expected to be built by Avondale Industries Inc., New Orleans,
"There are few people who have done more for our Sailors and Marines in times
of great personal need than Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher," Secretary Dalton
said at a ceremony last night honoring the opening of a Fisher House at the
Portsmouth Naval Hospital. "There is no way to repay the Fishers for their
decades of support, but this gesture -- naming a ship in their honor -- is the
Navy's way of saying thank you very much."
Fisher houses are located at military installations and VA Hospitals across
the country and provide a comfortable temporary home for families of
servicemembers who have been hospitalized far away from home. The Fisher House
Program has dedicated more than $15 million to the construction of these
comfort homes. By the end of this year, 25 Fisher Houses will be open to
families in need.
These ships will be non-combatant vessels, crewed by civilian members under
the Navy's Military Sealift Command and used to preposition tanks, trucks and
other wheeled vehicles and supplies needed to support an Army heavy brigade.
They will become part of the Brigade Afloat Force, an eight ship force designed
to preposition Army heavy equipment, "... Forward, From the Sea," near
potential contingency areas in the Middle and Far East. These ships,
designated the T-AKR 300 class, will measure approximately 950 feet in length
and travel at speeds up to 24 knots.
The contract for the lead ship was awarded in September of 1993 and called
for one ship at a cost of $265 million and included options for up to five
additional ships at a total cost of $1.3 billion. The option for the second
ship, USNS Fisher, and the third, which has yet to be named, was exercised in