Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) during a ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego Sept. 28.
The 689-foot long McLean, designated T-AKE 12, is the 12th of 14 new dry cargo/ammunition ships scheduled for delivery to the Navy by the end of 2012. The first ship of the class, USNS Lewis and Clark, joined MSC’s fleet in 2006 and is one of 11 dry cargo/ ammunition ships currently operating as part of the command’s Combat Logistics Force, delivering vital fuel, equipment and supplies to Navy warships at sea.
When all 14 of the dry cargo/ammunition ships are delivered, 11 are expected to serve in the CLF and the remaining three will be attached to maritime prepositioning squadrons, which strategically place combat cargo at sea for rapid delivery to warfighters ashore.
“MSC plays such an important role in the support of the Navy, and the T-AKEs are the future of that role,” said Capt. Robert Baus, McLean’s civil service master. “It’s very exciting to be a part of this process. I have an outstanding crew, and we are all looking forward to getting underway for a mission.”
When fully crewed, McLean will have a crew of 124 civil service mariners and 11 Navy sailors. The ship will begin conducting CLF missions in the summer of 2012 following a series of sea trials.
“As the 12th ship of its class, William McLean is delivering on cost and ahead of schedule,” said Frank McCarthey, the Auxiliary Ships, Small Boats and Craft program manager for the Navy’s Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “This ship will provide invaluable service to the fleet for years to come.”
McLean is named in honor of William Burdette McLean, who developed the heat-seeking sidewinder air-to-air missile while serving as a physicist for the Navy.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
Source: navy, September 29, 2011