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Public Invited to Launch of Navy Ship USNS Cesar Chavez

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chavezA Navy resupply ship named after labor leader Cesar Chavez will be christened and launched on San Diego Bay on Saturday, May 5.

The public is invited to attend the evening ceremony for the USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard, 2798 East Harbor Drive, in Barrio Logan. Gates at 28th Street and East Harbor Drive open at 6:30 p.m. The christening ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m.

General Dynamics NASSCO is a Port District tenant that employs more than 3,300 people. It is the only major ship construction yard on the West Coast of the United States.

The 689-foot long ship is named after Cesar Chavez, a farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW).

Chavez's widow, Helen Chavez, will serve as the ship's sponsor. Other dignitaries scheduled to speak include Juan M. Garcia III, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO.

Visitors to NASSCO are encouraged to wear long pants, shirts with sleeves and flat, closed-toe shoes. In addition, attendees are encouraged to use public transportation. The San Diego MTS Trolley stop located closest to NASSCO is the Harborside Station.

chavez2The USNS Cesar Chavez is the final ship of a class of 14 T-AKE dry cargo-ammunition ships for the Navy. The ships are designed to provide supplies to carriers and other Navy ships at sea.

When the USNS Cesar Chavez joins the fleet in 2012, its primary mission will be to deliver more than 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships on the move.

In addition to T-AKE construction, General Dynamics NASSCO is also building the first of three Mobile Landing Platform ships for the U.S. Navy.

The Port of San Diego is one of 17 strategic ports designated by the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. That means the port plays a role in the military's logistics and must coordinate and work with the military when needed.

About the Port:

The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest of the 11 ports in California. It was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.

The Port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department, and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.

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