Navy Names Next T-AKE For Cesar Chavez

June 2011

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Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on May 18 announced that the 14th Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo/ammunition ships (abbreviated as T-AKE) will be named the USNS Cesar Chavez.

“Continuing the Lewis and Clark-class tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, the Navy’s newest underway replenishment ship honors the memory of Mexican-American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez,” the Defense Department said in a news release. “Chavez served in the Navy from 1944-1946 after which he became a leader in the American labor movement and a civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers."

Members of the SIU Government Services Division sail aboard the T-AKE vessels.

“Cesar Chavez inspired young Americans to do what is right and what is necessary to protect our freedoms and our country,” said Mabus. “The Cesar Chavez will sail hundreds of thousands of miles and will bring support and assistance to thousands upon thousands of people. His example will live on in this great ship.”

Designated T-AKE 14, the Cesar Chavez is being built by union-contracted General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. Eleven of the TAKEs are slated to serve as combat logistics force (CLF) ships, and three are scheduled to be part of the maritime prepositioning force (MPF). The Cesar Chavez will serve the CLF missions, helping the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea.

According to the Navy, each ship in the class is 689 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 105 feet, displaces approximately 41,000 tons, and is capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots.

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