Navy's newest towing and rescue ship named in honor of Cherokee Nation citizens

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation and U.S. Navy christened the USNS Cherokee Nation, honoring Cherokee citizens who served in the Navy and Marine Corps.

The 10,000 ton USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7) is the Navy’s newest towing and rescue ship and the second ship in its class. The ship will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command.

The ceremony celebrating the USNS Cherokee Nation was held on Saturday at the Bollinger shipyard in Houma, Louisiana.

“Our Cherokee people throughout time have stood as protectors of this country, contributing in every major battle and war ever fought and they continue to serve the Armed Forces in disproportionately higher rates, showing that same patriotism and bravery,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in a press release. “We are so proud to witness this ship’s completion. It will bear our great name and mark the occasion as among the proudest in Cherokee history.”

The USNS Cherokee Nation will play a role in the country’s national defense strategy with missions including open ocean towing, deep dive, humanitarian assistance and wide area search and surveillance.

“This week we remembered those who served at the Battle of Midway and D-Day. In that same manner, today we recognize the patriotism and valor of those citizens of the Cherokee Nation who served our nation. It is only befitting to honor them by bestowing this ship with the name Cherokee Nation,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Anderson, program executive officer ships in a press release.

Several Cherokee Nation Cabinet and Council attended the christening in Louisiana.

Navy officials say the USNS Cherokee Nation is the fifth U.S. ship to be named in honor of the Cherokee people and the first since A World War II era tugboat.

The Cherokee Nation said thousands of Cherokee Nation citizens served in the Navy, including the first Native American to graduate from the Naval Academy, Joseph James “Jocko” Clark who commanded the USS Suwannee and USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway in World War II.

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