NAVY'S FIRST JOINT HIGH-SPEED VESSEL TO DROP ANCHOR IN ST. PETERSBURG
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (February 7, 2013) – The Navy’s first Joint High-Speed Vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), is scheduled to visit the Port of St. Petersburg beginning Sunday, Feb. 10. The ship will remain in port until its departure Tuesday afternoon. The port call is primarily a working visit and an opportunity for senior officials and military personnel from U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command to visit the ship and receive short briefings on Spearhead’s capabilities.
“I am pleased that the USNS Spearhead, the first in a new class of ships, will make its first official port visit in St. Petersburg this weekend,” said U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “The Spearhead affords our nation’s military leadership a new ability to quickly transport troops, equipment and supplies where they are most needed, anywhere in the world,” he said. “This will be a working visit by the crew of the Spearhead and one of the primary reasons for its stop here is to allow our leaders of Special Operations Command and Central Command to come from their headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base to see this new ship and better understand its unique capabilities.”
Mayor Bill Foster said, “St. Petersburg is known as a city of firsts with an eye to the future and by hosting this new ship’s first official port visit, we demonstrate our support of the military and its commitment to safeguarding our country now and into the future.”
The Navy will eventually operate 10 Joint High Speed Vessels in support of regional combatant commanders around the world.
About the Ship: Built in Mobile, Ala., by Austal U.S.A., USNS Spearhead is designed for rapid, intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command owns and operates Spearhead, along with the nine other JHSV’s that are currently under contract. Spearhead is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability. The reconfigurable 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be quickly adapted to support a number of different missions – anything from carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief to transporting tanks and troops. Spearhead’s crew of 22 civil service mariners works for MSC which operates, navigates and maintains the ship. JHSVs are capable of transporting approximately 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and are designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, providing added flexibility to U.S. warfighters worldwide.
Public Tours: Due to space limitations and safety concerns, the Navy is unable to host general public tours during Spearhead’s brief visit to St. Petersburg.
Media: Members of the media are invited to an arrival ceremony at 1 p.m. on Feb. 10 alongside the ship, located at Pier One. Distinguished guests include U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, Mayor Bill Foster, Rear Admiral John Kirby, Chief of Information and St. Petersburg native, Captain Sam Norton, Commander of Military Sealift Command Atlantic, and Captain Doug Casavant, the ship’s master. Tours will be available for the media only immediately following the arrival ceremony and can be scheduled via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 202-685-5060 (office) or 202-769-8635 (cell).
The tour includes steep stairs and some non-air conditioned spaces, and is not advisable for individuals with restricted mobility or health issues. The ship is not able to facilitate those who cannot walk unencumbered under their own power. Sturdy, closed-toe, flat shoes are recommended, as are pants or shorts for ease of movement. High heels, sandals, flip-flops or shower shoes will not be allowed on the tour. Cameras are encouraged and tour guides will specify where photographs are prohibited.
Please visit http://youtu.be/TLmDeE9pInQ for a 2-minute video feature on the JHSV.