Navy names ship in honor of Sen. John Glenn

Associated Press Published:

SAN DIEGO -- The military on Saturday christened a Navy logistics ship in honor of John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth.

The former Ohio senator attended the ceremony in San Diego at General Dynamics' National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, along with his wife and daughter.

The 785-foot USNS John Glenn is a Mobile Landing Platform ship -- a new type of amphibious staging and assault vessel. It's the second one ordered by the Navy to quickly transport troops and supplies to shore.

"What better name could adorn this ship than John Glenn -- a risk-taker, an innovator, a man who got the job done," said Rear Admiral Thomas Shannon during the nearly hour-long ceremony.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, called the ship "a giant Swiss Army knife" that can serve combat and humanitarian missions.

Greenert said he wished the ship was available during the Philippine typhoon last year since it has 25,000 square feet of cargo space.

The 92-year-old Glenn, a Marine pilot during World War II and the Korean War, and the oldest American to go into space, told the audience that he was proud of the ship bearing his name.

He also paid homage to the people he served alongside.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus called the christening "a fitting tribute" to the man who in 1962 became the first American to orbit the Earth as a member of the Mercury 7 program, America's first corps of astronauts.

After the historic spaceflight, he ran for Senate and served for 24 years. In 1998, he returned to flying and became the oldest person to fly in space when he joined a space shuttle mission at the age of 77.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.