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Press Release

MSC PAO 97-62
October 28, 1997
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Nancy Breen
(202) 685-5055

Another MSC milestone:
USNS Soderman is named

USNS Soderman (T-AKR 299), the last of five commercial container ships converted into large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships and destined for operation by Military Sealift Command, was renamed on Oct. 24 at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, Calif. The ship is named for U.S. Army Private First Class William A. Soderman, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for risking his life for his comrades during the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes during World War II.

"Soderman will be a great ship! She was converted to be responsive to the Army's requirements, and the result is one of the finest ocean transport vessels at sea today," said Vice Adm. Jim Perkins, MSC's commander who spoke at the ceremony. Soderman initially will be used to preposition U.S. Army combat support equipment at sea; later the ship will serve as a surge asset--delivering military cargo from U.S. ports to anywhere in the world.

Soderman is 906.9 feet long; has a maximum beam of 105.6 feet; a draft of 34.9 feet; a displacement (full load) of 55,123 tons and a speed of 24 knots. Soderman's cargo space equals nearly six football fields and can be loaded and off-loaded in 96 hours. The ship can carry an entire U.S. Army Armor Task Force, including 58 tanks, 48 other track vehicles, plus more than 900 trucks and other wheeled vehicles.

Soderman will be crewed by merchant mariners under contract to Military Sealift Command. In addition, up to 50 military personnel, called supercargoes, will embark to monitor and maintain the military equipment on board to ensure its military readiness.

Soderman is one of 19 large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships, called LMSRs, which will be built or converted at U.S. shipyards by the year 2001 in response to the need for expanded sealift capability identified in a congressionally-mandated study done in the early 1990s.