06/07/2013 -- The United States Navy announced Thursday that they have decided to name one of their newest Joint High-Speed Vessels after the city of Yuma, Ariz., forming an even deeper bond between the local community and our military. Political officials from the state of Arizona and the city of Yuma were informed of the decision by the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, during a phone call June 6.
Yuma is home to two separate military installations, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds, with MCAS Yuma being established here over five decades ago.
“I am very pleased that the United States Navy has decided to name its latest Joint High-Speed Vessel the USNS Yuma,” said U.S. Sen. John McCain. “We expect the ship to be a great addition to the fleet, providing high-speed intra-theater transportation for troops, military vehicles and equipment. This is a worthy recognition of the people of Yuma and all they do to support the men and women of our military.”
Joint high-speed vessels are transport craft that serve in a variety of roles for the military branches in support of overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and supporting special operations forces.
United States Naval Ship (USNS) Yuma (JHSV 8) will be constructed at Austal USA, Ala. along with USNS Bismarck (JHSV 9) and USNS Burlington (JHSV 10). The JHSVs will span 338 feet, have a waterline beam of 93.5 feet, displace approximately 2,362 tons, and operate at speeds of approximately 40 knots.
Additionally, two other vessels are slated for construction, USS Billing and USS Tulsa both being littoral combat ships.
“It is my privilege as secretary of the Navy to name these ships after five great American cities,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “Several cities will be represented for the first time in the Navy fleet, establishing a new connection and tradition that forms a bond between a city's residents and the sailors and Marines who serve in its namesake ship. For decades to come, these ships will sail in the fleet, building partnerships and projecting power around the world.”
Once the construction of USNS Yuma is complete, a ceremonial wine-breaking, called christening, during the initial launch is customary. A wine bottle or something similar is broken on the bow of the ship and traditionally done by a female sponsor. The first recorded christening of an American vessel was the “Old Ironsides” in Boston, October 21, 1797.
Naming of a vessel after a city is no small gesture. USNS Yuma naming shows the strong relation between the military and local community and illustrates that the military support of the city is recognized on not just a local level but a national one as well.
The USNS Yuma will be the fourth in the line of Navy vessels named after Yuma, honoring the city in Arizona.