Navy Christens Expeditionary Fast Transport Carson City

The following blog is excerpted from remarks by Rear Adm. T. K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command, at the Jan. 16 christening ceremony for USNS Carson City (EPF 7).

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I am delighted to be here for the christening of Carson City. 

I enjoy our place in this partnership. Men and women labor to mine bauxite.  Through an intense process, that raw material is transformed into aluminum. That aluminum arrives here in Mobile by truck, rail and barge. Then dedicated craftsmen of this yard fashion that aluminum into these wonderful platforms for our great Navy. Cleary, Military Sealift Command gets the fun part of this job, as we operate these platforms around the world.

Only three years ago we received our first-in-class vessel, Spearhead. Today, Spearhead is on her Fifthdeployment, in the Mediterranean Sea. She will visit 20 nations and participate in multi-national exercises.

Our second platform, Choctaw County is on her way to the Arabian Gulf, the front lines in a volatile and dangerous region of the world.

Our third platform, Millinocket is operating out of Singapore. This past summer Millinocket visited Vietnam, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Micronesia.

And our fourth platform, Fall River is in the Pacific, on her way to Iwakuni, Japan.

Number 5, Trenton, is completing work-ups and exercises and will soon deploy to Africa.

And, just this week, we accepted delivery of number 6, Brunswick.

One of the great features of these ships is that they are adaptable and flexible. Our Navy continues to find new ways to employ these vessels. As an example, we have tested unmanned systems in these ships, systems that operate over the water, on the water and in the water.

Two days ago our Secretary of Navy said that our Navy gets there fast, stays longer, and brings everything that it needs. That’s all true. And I am here to tell you that while there, if our Navy needs more or needs to move something quickly, this ship here can pull into a port, put down its ramp, load up, and haul people and equipment where it needs to go, quickly. 

To our sponsor, Susan, and our Matron of Honor, Carolyn, we are fortunate that you are now part of our Navy’s family and we know you will remain part of Carson City’s legacy as she serves our nation.

Mayor Crowell, as you know well, the namesake for your great city, Christopher “Kit” Carson, served as a guide to expeditions that explored the Rocky Mountain region. Kit Carson was an expeditionary pioneer, in the same way this ship will serve for decades in an expeditionary role, forward deployed, working in austere conditions, and building relationships with our friends and partners. We are thankful that you and your city are once again, part of our family.

To the men and women of Austal USA and our General Dynamics team, thank you! Our nation and our Navy admire your professionalism, dedication and commitment. Thank you, for all you do, each and every day to keep our nation safe.

And we look forward to the future christening and delivery of Yuma, Bismarck, Burlington, and hull number 11.

I’ve talked about the ships and the contributions they make for our country. But, let us not forget, that what enables these ships to operate and serve our nation are our mariners.  Our mariners at Military Sealift Command, are the best in the world. The work they do directly supports the safety and security of our nation.

Our mariners are represented on stage by Captain Bob Wiley, our ship’s master in USNS Carson City.

Bob, a proud Carson City resident, is one of our most highly regarded ship masters. Bob has served our nation for over 25 years. We have turned to Capt Wiley many times to take on our toughest assignments.  

Let me give just one quick example. On occasion, every organization, finds itself in a difficult position. We found ourselves in one of those tough spots a year ago with one of our hospital ships, where we needed a ship’s master on very short notice. We called was Bob Wiley. Within 48 hours, he was on a plane across country, took command of USNS Comfort and knocked that ship’s deployment out of the park. Under his charge, the ship participated in a high-visibility deployment, serving as visible sign of nation’s goodwill and diplomatic efforts during engagements with 11 countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

Bob is one of our best and brightest. And we are deeply fortunate that one of Carson City’s own will command this ship, with his city’s namesake. Bob, thank you for answering our Nation’s call. I know you and Chief Engineer Jereme Hansen will take good care of Carson City and her mariners.

May God bless the city of Carson City, this ship Carson City, all those who built her, and all those who will sail in her.

Thank you.

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Carson City, designated EPF 7, honors the city of Carson City, Nevada.

EPF 7 will be the second U.S. Navy ship named for the city in Nevada. The first Carson City was designated PF-50 and commissioned March 24, 1944. She was loaned to Japan in 1953 and served for nearly 20 years in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.  Carson City received two battle stars for World War II service.

The EPF is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances.

EPF is designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in sea state 3. The ship is capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2).

The EPF will include a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp will be suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. EPF’s shallow draft (under 15 feet) will further enhance littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

 

 

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