Orange County Breeze has been told that folks driving over the Anaheim Bay Bridge caught sight of an unusual visitor docked at the Naval Weapons Station: USNS Cesar Chavez, a new generation dry cargo/ammunition ship (T-AKE).
The Cesar Chavez is the fourteenth and last of its class.
The United States Navy describes these ships as follows:
The dry cargo/ammunition ships are operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. In this class of an expected fourteen ships, eleven are slated to provide multi-product combat logistics support to the Navy fleet and three are slated to preposition
U.S. Marine Corps Cargo at sea as part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force.
The Navy’s ten operational T-AKEs are currently conducting Combat Logistics Force (CLF) missions.
As the Navy’s newest CLF underway replenishment ships, the T-AKEs will replace the current capability of the Kilauea-class (T-AE 26) ammunition ships; Mars-class (T-AFS 1) combat stores ships; and, when operating in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-class (T-AO 187) fleet replenishment oiler, the Sacramento-class (AOE 1) fast combat support ships. The T-AKE acquisition program calls for up to fourteen ships and has a budget of more than $6 billion.
The T-AKE acquisition program resides within the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships – Support Ships Boats and Craft Program Office (PEO Ships/PMS 325).
According to Military Sealift Command, the first T-AKE commissioned was USNS Lewis and Clark, delivered on June 20, 2006. Further ships in the class and their delivery dates:
- USNS Sacagawea delivered Feb. 27, 2007
- USNS Alan Shepard delivered June 20, 2007
- USNS Richard E. Byrd delivered Nov. 14, 2007
- USNS Carl Brashear delivered March 4, 2009
- USNS Wally Schirra delivered Sept. 1, 2009
- USNS Matthew Perry delivered Feb. 24, 2010
Final ships in the class:
- USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10)
- USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11)
- USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12)
- USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13)
- USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14)
Photo of a dry cargo/ammunition ship courtesy of the United States Navy.
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