‘USNS Navajo’ christening to honor Diné military warriors
A towing, salvage and rescue ship bearing the name Navajo will be christened at Bollinger Shipyards on Aug. 26, and some Diné will be on hand to witness the event.
The USNS Navajo, aka the T-ATS 6, will be christened with a bottle of champagne.
The ceremony on Saturday at Bollinger Shipyards in Houma, Louisiana, is a tribute to Diné military veterans who’ve fought and served the U.S. armed forces with honor and courage.
Richard V. Spencer, the former U.S. secretary of the Navy, announced in March 2019 that a new class of towing, salvage, and rescue ships would be named Navajo in honor of the significant contributions the Diné have made to the armed forces.
Bollinger Shipyards launched the first USNS Navajo vessel in the new Navajo-class T-ATS for the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command in Houma, Louisiana, May 24.
Bollinger is contracted to build four more Navajo-class T-ATS, while Austal USA of Mobile, Alabama, will make five class ships.
Bollinger is constructing the USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7), the USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS 8), the USNS Lenni Lenape (T-ATS 9), and the USNS Muscogee Creek Nation (T-ATS 10).
The Navajo class is a multi-mission common hull platform that will be deployed to support a range of missions such as towing, rescue, salvage, humanitarian assistance, oil-spill response, and wide-area search and rescue operations using unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The T-ATS platform replaces and fulfills the capabilities previously provided by the Powhatan-class T-ATF fleet ocean tugs and the Safeguard-class T-ARS rescue and salvage ships with the Military Sealift Command.
“So, it is fitting and right to name a new class of ship in their honor,” Richard V. Spencer, the former U.S. secretary of the Navy, said in March 2019. “The Navajo-class of towing, salvage, and rescue ships will serve our nation and continue the legacy of the Navajo people and all Native Americans.”
Read the full story in the Aug. 24 edition of the Navajo Times.