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    MSC’s Newest Ship USNS John Lewis Christened at General Dynamics NASSCO San Diego

    MSC’s Newest Ship USNS John Lewis Christened at General Dynamics NASSCO San Diego

    Photo By Sarah Burford | Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, Commander, Military Sealift Command, speaks during the...... read more read more

    UNITED STATES

    07.17.2021

    Story by Sarah Burford 

    Military Sealift Command Pacific

    Fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the Military Sealift Command’s newest ship, was christened during a ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, Calif., today.

    The event was attended by the family of the ship’s namesake as well a bipartisan congressional delegation made up of 30 members including House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Rep Maxine Waters, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Jackie Speier, and Rep. Nikema Williams, Lewis’ successor. Other dignitaries included James Geurts – Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy; former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; Vice Adm. Ross Myers, Commander, Fleet Cyber Command and Commander, TENTH Fleet; Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, Commander, Naval Surface Forces; Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet; Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, Commander, Military Sealift Command; and actress and social activist, Alfre Woodard Spencer, the ship’s sponsor.

    The ship honors Rep. John Lewis a long-serving member of the United States House of Representatives and civil rights activist. Lewis was known for his work as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and as one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. In 1965, Lewis led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, known as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police attacked the marchers, including Lewis.

    Lewis served 17 terms as a Congressman as the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation, Chief Deputy Whip, Senior Chief Deputy Whip and on countless committees. Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his long service in government, by then President Barack Obama in 2011.

    “How perfect the motto of this ship; Unbreakable Perseverance,” said Pelosi in her key note address. “Everyone who sees this ship will be reminded of John’s perseverance.” She went on to say, “God truly blessed America with the dedication and leadership of John Lewis.”

    The 746 foot Lewis is the first of the new John Lewis-class previously known as the TAO(X). This class of oilers has the ability to carry 162,000 barrels of diesel ship fuel, aviation fuel and dry stores cargo. The upgraded oiler is built with double hulls to protect against oil spills and strengthened cargo and ballast tanks, and will be equipped with a basic self-defense capability, including crew served weapons, degaussing, and Nixie Torpedo decoys, and has space, weight, and power reservations for Close In Weapon Systems such as SeaRAMs, and an Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defense System. The Lewis-class of oilers will replace the current Kaiser Class fleet replenishment oilers and they age out of the MSC fleet.

    “As the global maritime environment is increasingly crowded and contested, John Lewis will continue to support our National Security Strategy in building partnerships with our friends and allies, and enable Naval forces to rapidly respond to crises, deter adversaries, and maintain forward presence to protect the homeland,” said Wettlaufer. “USNS John Lewis with current and future ships that makeup our combat logistics force are absolutely fundamental to that mission as they provide fuel, parts, provisions, and mail for Naval Forces around the globe.”

    Six more Lewis-class oilers are on order for the Navy. In July 2016, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus that he would name the Lewis-class oilers after prominent civil rights activists and leaders including Harvey Milk, Earl Warren, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone and Robert F. Kennedy.

    Today’s ceremony marked the one year anniversary of Lewis’ death from pancreatic cancer.

    “We miss John on this platform, but we will never be without him,” said Woodard Spencer. “May this ship inspire and free the spirit of those who serve on her and those of us on land!”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.17.2021
    Date Posted: 07.17.2021 17:39
    Story ID: 401130
    Location: US

    Web Views: 471
    Downloads: 1

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