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USNS Carl Brashear now christened and launched

The USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7) was christened and launched Thursday at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard.

The seventh ship of the Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo-ammunition ships is named for Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear (1931-2006) who was the first African-American to qualify and serve as a Navy master diver on active duty.

His granddaughter, Lauren Brashear, is the ship’s sponsor. Following tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of Champaign against it. A planned explosion allowed the ship to break away from its pilings and launch into the bay.

Construction of the 689-foot-long Carl Brashear began in May 2007. The ship’s primary mission will be to deliver more than 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships at sea.

It will be delivered to the Navy during the second quarter of 2009.

Brashear’s military career was transferred to the big screen in Men of Honor, a film directed produced and written by Robert De Niro who attended the event.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Joe Campa delivered speeches before the launch.

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