The dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Cesar Chavez will be christened and launched on Saturday, May 5, 2012 through a ceremony scheduled for 7:30 pm PDT at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
The ship is being named in honor of prominent civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, a Navy Veteran who served during the Second World War.
Cesar Chavez is a Mexican-American civil rights activist, who, after his service with the Navy, became a leader in the American Labor Movement. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which became the United Farm Workers.
The naming of the newest underway replenishment ship of the U.S. Navy after Chavez is in keeping with the Lewis and Clark T-AKE tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers.
The USNS Cesar Chavez is designated T-AKE 14, and is the final of the Lewis and Clark dry cargo/ammunition ships, which will all be operated by the Military Sealift Command of the United States Navy. These ships serve as combat logistics force (CLF) ships, which help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other supplies to U.S. and allied ships at sea.
The principal address during the christening and launch ceremony will be delivered by Juan M. Garcia III, assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs. The ship’s sponsor is Helen Fabela Chavez, Cesar Chavez’s widow. As the ship’s sponsor, Helen Fabela Chavez will break a bottle of champagne across the bow of the ship to formally christen it – a practice that is considered as a time-honored tradition of the Navy.