New jobs for members of the SIU Government Services Division are on the horizon following the Aug. 20 christening of the USNS Yuma in Mobile, Alabama.
The Yuma is the eighth of 10 expeditionary fast transport vessels (EPF), formerly identified by the Navy as joint high-speed vessels or JHSVs. The ceremony took place at the Austal USA shipyard, where the entire fleet has been built.
The ship’s sponsor, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, headlined the group of shipyard officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees who attended the ceremony beneath the hull of the Yuma in its final assembly bay.
“As a former governor of Arizona, I am especially pleased to sponsor a ship that bears the name of a city whose history is synonymous with the arc of American history,” said Napolitano, who currently serves as the president of the University of California. “For generations, Native Americans flourished on the land that makes up present-day Yuma, and the Spanish explorers who made contact with them in the 16th century were among the first to arrive in what is now the United States. In later years, the trail that led thousands of people to California during the Gold Rush ran right down Yuma’s present-day Main Street.”
Like its sister ships, the Yuma is a 338-foot, shallow-draft, aluminum catamaran that can sail at an average speed of 35 knots. According to the Navy, the vessel “is designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo…. 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. 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.”
The first of the EPF vessels, the USNS Spearhead, has logged more than 100,000 nautical miles since its maiden voyage in 2012. At press time, the Spearhead was on its fifth deployment.
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