US Navy christening former Hawaii superferry in Japan

USNS Guam (HST 1) getting underway from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in October 2017 for testing and evaluation. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy is set to christen two ships in two ceremonies on different sides of the world on Saturday, April 27.

The first ceremony will occur in Okinawa, Japan, where high-speed transport vessel USNS Guam (T-HST 1) will be christened at 10 a.m. Japan Standard Time.

Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), will be christened at 10 a.m. EST at General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine.

The future USNS Guam is one of two former Hawaii superferries acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Administration in 2012. Its sister ship, formerly known as USNS Puerto Rico (HST-2), concluded service in December 2016 and its name was assigned to future USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11), a Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship which shares a lot of its design with the superferries. Both ship classes were designed by Australian shipbuilder Austal.

USNS Guam is named to honor the long-standing historical and military relationship between Guam and the United States. She will be the fourth ship to bear the name.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea Harry B. Harris Jr. will be the principal speaker, and Mrs. Bruni Bradley, a 25-year Navy veteran and wife of Harris, will serve as the ship’s sponsor.

“This ship honors the island of Guam and the important contributions Guamanians have made to our nation and our Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “For decades to come, USNS Guam and its crew will carry on the Guamanian tradition of service by providing our commanders with much needed high-speed sealift mobility and agility.”

The ship is preceded in service by the patrol gunboat USS Guam (PG 43), which was renamed Wake in 1941 and captured by the Japanese later that year, the Alaska-class large cruiser USS Guam (CB 2) in service 1944-1947, and the Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship USS Guam (LPH 9) in service 1965-1998.

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