Christening of USNS William McLean
May 9, 2011
Fredrick Gary Hareland
I recently attended a christening/launch ceremony for the USNS William McLean, who was the most successful China Lake Technical Director and the father of the Sidewinder missile. I wanted to attend this function for three reasons...I once worked as a civilian mariner for Military Sealift Command-Pacific, I now work as a civil servant at China Lake, and although I have served on 12 vessels in my mariners career I have never once been to a Christening. It was awesome! Speeches, music, and fireworks. These MSC ships are very important for American mariners because they hire the largest majority of American civilian mariners. This particular vessel, the USNS William McLean is the 12th out of 15 Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships of the new Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) Class. She is 689 feet long,105.6 feet beam,29.9 feet draft,41,000 MT displacement,20 knots design speed at 80% propulsion, and a range of 14,000 NM@ design speed and draft. This christening was held at 8:00 PM on the 16th of April at the only remaining active shipbuilding yard on the West Coast..."General Dynamics NASSCO". Photo 017 is my favorite because it captures the exact moment that she started down her ways into San Diego Bay. The red, white, and blue streamers from her bow are still in play.