APALACHICOLA, FL — Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer has announced the newest Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship will be named USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF 13). Spencer travelled to Apalachicola to make the announcement personally at Apalachicola Main Street’s Independence Eve Celebration on July 3rd.
“The city of Apalachicola is one of the most historic cities in Florida, with foundations rooted in the maritime industry and support for a strong Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Spencer. “I am pleased that the history, culture, and spirit of this city will live on in the future USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13).”
The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran that is designed for High Speed Intra-Theater Surface Lift and serves in a variety of roles for the military branches to include support of overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and supporting special operations forces.
“I am both grateful and honored that the City of Apalachicola, a small, rural costal community along Florida’s Forgotten Coast has been chosen to receive such a distinct recognition by the United States Navy,” said the Hon. Van W. Johnson, mayor of Apalachicola. “This recognition speaks volumes about Apalachicola’s significance as an historic port City and its hardworking, dedicated and resilient residents.”
“I am proud of our community and sincerely pray that when called into action to provide assistance, relief and support to those in need, that the USNS Apalachicola and its crew will rise to the occasion and exemplify the true essence of the people who live and work in this unique and historic port City.”
The future USNS Apalachicola is the second ship named in honor of the city of Apalachicola, Fla: the first, a large harbor tug (YTB-767), served from 1965-2002. The most recent naming is part of a program designed to honor small cities throughout the nation. “This ship and its class is to be named after smaller communities, but as I like to say, smaller communities with bigger hearts,” said Spencer. “This ship will sail around the world…and people around the world will know where Apalachicola is.”
Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, is
under contract to build the new EPF, which will be 338 feet in length, have a
waterline beam of 93.5 feet, displace approximately 2,362 tons and can operate
at speeds of 35-plus knots.
Secretary Spencer, his wife Polly, security, and staff attended Apalachicola’s award-winning Independence Eve Celebration known for its fireworks display over the Apalachicola River. Spencer made the announcement to a crowd of 7,000 gathered downtown for the festivities which included live music, a parade, Veteran’s Tribute, remarks from the newly elected State Representative Jason Shoaf, and performances of patriotic songs culminating in the National Anthem.
“It was an honor to host Secretary and Mrs. Spencer as well as the Secretary’s staff for this exciting announcement,” said Apalachicola Main Street’s Executive Director Augusta West, who worked with Spencer’s staff to coordinate logistics.