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USNS Brunswick accepted by Navy

The Navy's newest Joint High Speed Vessel, the future USNS Brunswick, launches from the Austal USA shipyard on May 19, 2015.

U.S. Navy

By Gordon Jackson | The Brunswick News, Ga. (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 21, 2016

The USNS Brunswick is officially part of the U.S. Navy.

The sixth Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel has been delivered to the Navy by its builder, Austal USA.

"We're proud to deliver yet another great ship to the U.S. Navy fleet," Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. "The five Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels in service today have already proven to be a valuable resource for our nation and we're excited to deliver another ship that will add to that global capability."

The Brunswick is a 338-foot shallow draft aluminum catamaran capable of transporting 600 tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, or 40 mph. The ship's deck can support flight operations for a wide variety of aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion, the largest and heaviest helicopter in the military.

It is described as a "multi-mission, noncombatant transport vessel characterized by its high volume, high speed, and flexibility."

The ship is named after the Coastal Georgia city that played an important role during World War II as the site of a 435-acre shipyard that produced 99 Liberty ships.

"Brunswick displays American values of community, hospitality and resourcefulness at their very best," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during the ship's commissioning ceremony. "I chose to name the Joint High Speed Vessel after Brunswick to honor those values and the men and women of the city, as well as the state of Georgia."

Sheila McNeill, former national Navy League president and an organizer of an upcoming ceremony to welcome the ship to its namesake city, said it was a significant milestone for the ship to pass all its tests and become an official part of the Navy.

"To the crew, it's a big deal," she said.

The crew is aware of the plans for the ship's first visit, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of May 8 during the Blessing of the Fleet.

"They are excited how Brunswick is receiving them," McNeill said.

The first vessel in the class, USNS Spearhead, was delivered in 2012 and has already logged more than 100,000 nautical miles supporting combat and humanitarian operations in Africa, South America and the Pacific.

"The EPF program is very mature thanks to the hard work and dedication to excellence of the amazing shipbuilders here at Austal USA," Perciavalle said. "The Austal team is delivering incredible ships for our nation's defense while further establishing Austal USA as a major defense contractor."
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