Page 51: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (October 2012)

Marine Design & Construction

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October 51USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2), the second of the Navy?s new joint high- speed vessels designed for rapid intra- theater transport of troops and militaryequipment, was christened Sept. 15 dur- ing a ceremony at Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. Military Sealift Command will own and operate Choctaw County and the other joint high-speed vessels, or JHSVs, that are under contract to be built for the Navy. Choctaw County will have a crew of 21 civil service mariners working for MSC who will operate, navigate and maintain the ship. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was the ceremony?s principal speaker. The ship is named for three counties in America, located in Missis- sippi, Alabama and Oklahoma, which share the name Choctaw County. Twenty-nine women from the 1966 graduating class of Ackerman High School in Ackerman, Miss., served as the ship?s sponsors. Lead sponsor, Theresa Gilliam Pitts, a retired teacher, broke the traditional bottle of champagne acrossthe bow to formally christen the ship while she and the other sponsors presentsaid in unison, ?For the United States of America, we christen thee USNSChoctaw County. May God bless this ship and all who sail in her.? The 338-foot-long aluminum catama-rans are designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, even in shallow waters, making them ideal for transporting troopsand equipment quickly within a theaterof operations. The 20,000-square-foot mission bay area aboard JHSVs can bereconfigured to quickly adapt to whatever mission the ship is tasked with, such as carrying containerized portable hospitalsto support disaster relief or transportingtanks and troops. JHSVs are capable oftransporting 600 tons of military troops,vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at a high average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow- draft, austere ports and waterways, pro- viding U.S. forces added mobility andflexibility. The JHSVs? aviation flight decks can support day and night flightoperations. Each JHSV also has sleepingaccommodations for up to 146 personneland airline-style seating for up to 312. Theresa Gilliam Pitts, sponsor of Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) 2, USNS Choctaw County, breaks a bottle of champagne during the christening at the Austal Shipyard. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named the ship after three U.S. counties located in Mississippi, Alabama and Oklahoma; places he saiddemonstrate core American values of hard work, putting family first, and com- munity service. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)Navy JHSV ChristenedMR#10 (50-56):MR Template 10/5/2012 9:54 AM Page 51

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