For Immediate Release: Contact: Erin Rath (GREGG)
Friday, January 20, 2006 202-224-3324
Barbara Riley (SUNUNU)
Alissa Southworth (BASS)
Stephanie DuBois (BRADLEY)
(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu and Congressmen Charles Bass and Jeb Bradley today announced that the U.S. Navy will name its new combat ship the USS Alan Shepard , in honor of Alan B. Shepard, Jr., a native of New Hampshire and the first American in space. The ship, a 1,000-foot combat support ship, will be built in San Diego by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company and is slated to be delivered to the Navy's fleet by March 2007.
"We applaud the Navy's decision to honor the legacy and contributions of New Hampshire's native son Alan Shepard by naming one of the new combat support ships after him. Alan Shepard led a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy and at NASA, and naming a ship after him will be a fitting tribute to one of our nation's greatest pilots and astronauts," stated Gregg, Sununu, Bass and Bradley. "The USS Alan Shepard will play an important role in providing for our Navy's readiness and allow the Navy to maintain a forward presence in the21st century."
The new combat support ship is part of the T-AKE Class of auxiliary support ships. The T-AKE's primary mission will be to deliver supplies to Navy ships, transfer cargo, and provide logistic support to ships within a single carrier strike group. The ship measures 689 feet in length and has a top speed of 20 knots.
Alan B. Shepard, Jr., was born and raised in East Derry, New Hampshire. On May 5, 1961, he became the first American to man a mission into space. In 1971, Shepard led the Apollo XIV mission to the moon. Among his numerous accolades, he was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and received two NASA Distinguished Service Medals.