MSC Public Affairs
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July 27, 2007
Military Sealift Command accepts USNS Alan Shepard
Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard today in San Diego. The ship was built by General Dynamics NASSCO.
Shepard, designated T-AKE 3, is the third in the Lewis and Clark-class of underway replenishment ships and is able to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy's carrier and expeditionary strike groups and other naval forces.
Designed to operate independently at sea while providing underway replenishment services to the fleet, Shepard will directly contribute to the Navy's ability to maintain a forward presence by allowing warships to stay at sea for extended periods of time.
"The T-AKEs are the best ships we have," said Capt. Greig Hague, Shepard's civil service master. "Their cargo handling capacity is outstanding and we can move cargo more rapidly and efficiently than ever before."
The T-AKEs will replace aging, single-mission ships such as Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships that are nearing the end of their service lives.
Shepard will have a crew of 124 civil service mariners working for MSC as well as military detachment of 11 sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination. When needed, Shepard can also carry a helicopter detachment.
The 689-foot Shepard will operate initially in the 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. The first and second ships in the class, USNS Lewis and Clark and USNS Sacagawea, operate on the East Coast.
General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded contracts to build nine T-AKE ships for the Navy. Five additional ships are expected to be ordered by the Navy for a total class of 14 ships.
Military Sealift Command operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.
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