For Immediate Release - March 25, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK JOINS NAVAL SECRETARY MABUS IN NAMING OF USNS FALL RIVER

FALL RIVER, MA - March 25, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today joined Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans' Services Tom Kelley, a retired Naval Captain and Medal of Honor recipient, in a ceremony marking the commission of the fourth Joint High Speed Vessel and its naming as the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Fall River.

"This is a great day for the city of Fall River, and for the Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I am honored to be here with Secretary Mabus as we commission the USNS Fall River in the name of the sons and daughters of Massachusetts who served with such nobility. The USNS Fall River will carry with it the honor and rich history of Massachusetts, a proud history we celebrate for its role in granting liberty and freedom."

The commissioning ceremony is rooted in worldwide tradition over 300 years old. The ceremony completes the cycle from christening and launching to sanction the ship into full, active status as a warship in the Naval fleet.

"The Fall River represents the physical embodiment of the City of Fall River's patriotic spirit and the dedication of the thousands of young men and women from this city who have worn and continue to wear the uniform of our country all over the world." said Secretary Mabus.

"It is an honor to have Secretary Mabus here in the Commonwealth with us today," said Secretary Kelley. "The USNS Fall River will serve the Navy proudly and carry on Massachusetts' Maritime legacy."

The USNS Fall River is the second ship to be named after the city. The first, the USS Fall River, was a Baltimore class heavy cruise ship commissioned in 1945 and used largely on training missions. The tip of the bow of the decommissioned cruiser is on display at Battleship Cove in Fall River.

"This is a special moment for Fall River and for Massachusetts," said Senator John Kerry. "The naming of the United State Naval Ship Fall River is proper tribute to veterans from the city who have proudly served their country. The naming is a terrific reminder of the long tradition of Fall River's and Battleship Cove's Naval and maritime history."

"This is a terrific honor for a terrific city," said Congressman James McGovern. "Fall River has a wonderful maritime heritage, and the USNS Fall River will serve as a fitting reminder of all the Massachusetts citizens who have served their nation over the centuries."

"I am proud the Navy has bestowed this honor on the city of Fall River," said Congressman Barney Frank. "Fall River has a long and rich history, and it's only right that it be commemorated."

Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) are ideal for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, supplies and equipment. They are capable of transporting 600 short tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. Additionally, JHSV will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 104.

"I can't think of a more appropriate and beautiful place to commission the U.S.N.S. Fall River, in the names of all the men and women of Fall River who have proudly served our Country, than here in Battleship Cove," said Senator Joan M. Menard. "Thank you Governor Patrick and Secretary of the Navy Mabus for honoring the brave men and women of Fall River who sacrificed for us."

"This is great news from the Secretary and the Governor," said Representative Michael J. Rodrigues. "Fall River has a long and rich history, and this is a fitting honor, especially for our Sailors and Marines, as well as our veterans of all our Armed Forces."

"This is a wonderful tribute. With the input and encouragement from Governor Patrick, we are honored that the Secretary of the Navy would choose to name a ship after our great city," said Representative David Sullivan. "This privilege not only acknowledges the men and women who have fought in our armed services, but also the strong sense of American pride we hold here."

"It is an honor to have this recognition for the great city of Fall River," said Representative Kevin Aguiar.

"It is an honor to have both Governor Patrick and the Secretary here in the city of Fall River today. As the Mayor of Fall River, I am proud to accept their commission, and it is an honor for the people of Fall River, to have this recognition," said Mayor William A. Flanagan.

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