L-1998 ship builders complete 12th T-AKE

The USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) slides down a slipway at General Dynamics' NASSCO shipyard, where Local 1998 members are employed.

14th ship will be named for Cesar Chavez

LOCAL 1998 (SAN DIEGO) members employed at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard completed their 12th T-AKE supply ship for the U.S. Navy earlier this year. The shipyard launched the USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) in April. L-1998 members are now working on T-AKE 13, the USNS Medgar Evers, and T-AKE 14, the USNS Cesar Chavez. The 14th ship is the last of the Lewis and Clark Class of dry cargo ammunition ships to be built by NASSCO for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The ships are specially configured for forward deployment of supplies for the U.S. Marine Corps.

The William McLean was named for a U.S. Navy physicist who conceived and developed the heat-seeking Sidewinder missile, which is carried by fighter aircraft. Construction of the ship began in September 2009. The 689-foot-long vessel began sea trials after construction and is slated for delivery to the Navy in the third quarter of 2011.

Local 1998 President Robert Godinez submitted a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus thanking him for naming T-AKE 14 after Cesar Chavez. Chavez was an influential labor and civil rights leader who helped establish the United Farm Workers.

“I have seen many ships named after many American heroes,” Godinez wrote, but I never thought in my lifetime I would see a U.S. Navy ship named after a hero I have admired since grade school. I can’t thank you enough for having the courage to recognize a Latino labor leader who has helped and touched the lives of thousands of Americans.”