Meet The U.S. Navy Ship That Was Made In The Soviet Union

Meet The U.S. Navy Ship That Was Made In The Soviet Union

Meet The U.S. Navy Ship That Was Made In The Soviet Union

0
Get started on your Homeland Security Degree at American Military University.

As a rule, the Navy’s ships are built in American shipyards, but there’s one notable exception. U.S. Transport Command recently showcased a Soviet ship now serving in the U.S. Navy on its official Twitter account.

The tweet is part of a ‘meet the fleet’ effort to raise awareness of the less well-known ships in the U.S. Navy. And the 15,804-ton Maritime Prepositioning Force Ship USNS Lance Cpl. Roy M. Wheat and other transport ships do deserve more attention. This ship has a unique back story because it was built at a time and place which put it on the other side during the Cold War: in the U.S.S.R.

The U.S. Naval Service are among the many unsung heroes of overseas operations. Yet the role their Surge Sealift fleet plays, getting the troops and tanks to the fighting, is critically important. USNS Lance Cpl. Roy M.Wheat is one of 17 heavy lift ships in Military Sealift Command’s Maritime fleet.

The ship was laid down in 1987 at the Chernomorski yard in Nikolaiev in Ukraine, which was at the time part of the Soviet Union. She was as the fourth and last of the Project 1609 “Captain Smirnov” class cargo ships. In Soviet parlance these were ‘Atlantic’ type ships, pointing to their ability to travel long distances in harsh seas.

She was launched in August 1989 as the “Vladimir Vaslyaev” (ВЛАДИМИР ВАСЛЯЕВ in Russian) and operated by the Black Sea Shipping Company (BLASCO). During the 1980s, BLASCO was the largest shipping company in the world.

It was several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the U.S. Navy acquired her on the commercial market in 1997. After a refit she joined the Military Sealift Command (MSC) in 2003 as part of their Surge Sealift fleet. Several other MSC ships are also originally built overseas and then purchased, but as far as I can find out she is the only one built in the U.S.S.R.

In U.S. service she is named in recognition of Lance Cpl. Roy Wheat who won the Medal Of Honor in Vietnam. On August 11, 1967, Wheat and two other marines were providing security for a U.S. Navy construction crew in Dien Ban District, Quảng Nam Province. Wheat accidentally triggered a bounding mine. This is a type of booby trap which fires a grenade-like mine into the air before it explodes, showering a large area with deadly shrapnel. Wheat realized what had happened and shouted a warning to his fellow Marines before throwing himself on the mine. He smothered it so that his body would absorb the explosion. For sacrificing his own life to save the life of others he was awarded the Medal Of Honor.

USNS Lance Cpl. Roy M. Wheat, and the ships like her in MSC, will continue to play a largely unseen role supporting U.S. forces around the world. In many respects the country of her construction is irrelevant. But it adds to the richness of the history and shows that many ships outlive the politics of their birth.

 

This article was written by H I Sutton from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Comments

comments

Learn From The Leader

American Military University (AMU) is proud to be the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military, based on FY 2018 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times, 2019. At AMU, you’ll find instructors who are former leaders in the military, national security, and the public sector who bring their field-tested skills and strategies into the online classroom. And we work to keep our curriculum and content relevant to help you stay ahead of industry trends. Join the 64,000 U.S. military men and women earning degrees at American Military University.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.

tags: