SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships grew July 14 when Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of the 10th ship in the class, USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10).
Currently deployed Lewis and Clark-class ships operate as part of MSC's combat logistics force - allowing Navy ships to stay at sea, on station and combat ready for extended periods of time.
"As our 10th ship in the T-AKE class, USNS Charles Drew is another milestone for MSC," said Capt. Jerome Hamel, commander, Sealift Logistics Command Pacific, MSC's office in San Diego. "The T-AKE program is a continued example of MSC's commitment to support the Navy."
Drew is expected to begin conducting missions for MSC in spring 2011 and will operate in the Pacific.
"Taking command of a ship is always exciting, but being in command of a brand new ship in a class like the T-AKE takes the excitement level even higher," said Capt. Dan LaPorte, Charles Drew's civil service master. "I've got an extremely professional and motivated crew, and we're really looking forward to getting underway on our first mission."
Drew is crewed by 124 civil service mariners and 10 U.S. Navy Sailors who provide supply coordination.
Drew was christened and launched during a ceremony Feb. 27, 2010, at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego and underwent a series of tests and trials prior to delivery.
Drew is named for Dr. Charles Drew, an American physician regarded as the father of the blood bank, who researched and developed methods of blood collection, plasma processing and storage. Drew's research in blood storage first benefitted soldiers in the field during World War II, but has continued to save the lives millions of people worldwide. His blood bank design is still the model for modern hospitals and organizations such as the American Red Cross.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
For more news from Military Sealift Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/MSC/.