The Navy will christen the newest San Antonio class amphibious ship Mesa Verde Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005, during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Miss.
As the first U.S. Navy ship to be named Mesa Verde, she will honor the Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. In 1906, Congress established Mesa Verde as the first cultural park in the National Park Systems.
Dionel M. Aviles, undersecretary of the Navy, will deliver the ceremonys principal address. Linda Price Campbell, wife of former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, is serving as the ships sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Campbell will break a bottle of champagne across the ships bow to formally christen the ship Mesa Verde. Peter Pino, a representative from the Mesa Verde Indian Council, will add a Native American blessing to the ceremony.
Mesa Verde is the third ship in the Navys new San Antonio Class. As a critical element in future expeditionary strike groups, the ship will support the Marine Corps "mobility triad," which consists of the landing craft air cushion vehicle (LCAC), the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). The ship will provide improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capability in vehicle and cargo-carrying capability and advance ship-survivability features.
Cmdr. Shawn W. Lobree of Miami, Fla., will command the Mesa Verde and her crew of 360 officers and enlisted sailors. Mesa Verde is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet, displaces approximately 24,900 tons and is capable of embarking a landing force of approximately 800 Marines. Four turbo-charged diesel engines power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots.
For additional information about this class of ship, please visit the Navy Fact File: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-lpd.html .