Mayor Matt Hall Represents Cody for USNS Cody Christening
Written by Mac Watson on February 26, 2023
Cody Mayor Matt Hall had the unique and distinct honor to represent the city of Cody at the christening of the future USNS Cody on Saturday in Mobile, Alabama.
The Honorable Matt Hall delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Additional speakers included Vice Adm. Francis Morley, principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition; The Honorable Greg Reed, president pro tempore of the Alabama state senate; Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, Surgeon General of the Navy; Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, commander, Military Sealift Command; Mr. Rusty Murdaugh, president, Austal USA; and Mr. Stan Kordana, vice president of Surface Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems.
The Navy christened the Spear-head class expeditionary fast transport, the future USNS Cody (EPF 14) at 10AM ET, by having Averil Spencer, the ship’s sponsor, break a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow. Spencer is the daughter of the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, 76th Secretary of the Navy.
“This ship is the first to honor the city of Cody, Wyoming, a city that proudly embodies America’s independence and fighting spirit,” announced Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. “The future USNS Cody will also be the first Flight II configuration in its class, bringing enhanced medical capabilities in addition to its high-speed sealift mobility and agility. I look forward to the depth that this expeditionary fast transport will add to our fleet.”
The future USNS Cody will join the fleet as one of nearly 100 U.S. Navy ships operating globally each day ensuring freedom of the seas, protecting international law, and strengthening relationships with Allies and partners.
The keel for the future USNS Cody, Expeditionary Fast Transport Ship (EPF 14), the first of the Spearhead-class EPF Flight II configuration, was laid at Austal USA, Jan. 26, 2022.
A keel laying is the start of a ship’s construction. A laying of the keel is the joining together of a ship’s modular components and the authentication or etching of an honoree’s initials into a ceremonial keel plate.
“The new capabilities of this variant of EPFs fulfills a critical need for the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Ships. “Ensuring that the fleet has fast access to the right medical care increases both the safety and readiness of our Sailors and Marines.”
EPFs, formerly designated as Joint High Speed Vessels, are all-aluminum catamarans that provide high-speed, shallow-draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies, and equipment for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. “EPFs enable the rapid projection, agile maneuver, and sustainment of forces in response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief (HADR)”, so said a statement released by the Navy.
The Flight II ships will enhance the medical mission capability of the EPF’s mission portfolio. With an embarked medical unit, the Flight II EPF will have two operating rooms, the ability to support approximately 41 medical patients, and 147 embarked forces. Flight II EPFs will have an 11M RIB and MV-22 capability.
EPFs are operated by the Military Sealift Command and the USNS Cody is the first ship in naval service named after the town of Cody, Wyoming.