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Navy names ship for Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Secretary Gregory Slavonic

A new Navy vessel will be named for Oklahoma’s Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Acting Under Secretary of the Navy Greg Slavonic, an Oklahoma State University graduate and retired rear admiral, announced the naming of the USNS Muscogee Creek Nation (T-ATS 10) during a ceremony Friday at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.

The USNS Muscogee Creek Nation will be a Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship. Its sister ships will include the USNS Cherokee Nation. Naming of the vessel will be followed by a keel laying, christening and eventual commissioning for duty, Slavonic said.

Muscogee (Creek) Principal Chief David Hill said the nation was “honored to be here today to once again celebrate the remarkable relationship between the United States military and Indigenous people.”

“In spite of the complex and sometimes challenging history with the U.S., no race has answered the call of duty and served more than Native Americans, per capita,” he said.

SeaPower, a publication of the Navy League, reported in March that the Navy had ordered two new T-ATS ships to be built by Gulf Island Shipyards in Houma, Louisiana. Work is expected to be complete in October 2022.

The Navajo class is designed with 6,000 square feet of deck space.

The ship will have an overall length of 263 feet and a beam of 59 feet and will be capable of carrying nearly 2,000 tons, the Navy said in a news release. The Navajo class is designed to tow Navy ships at sea.

Capabilities include open ocean towing, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance and wide-area search and surveillance. The vessels combine the capabilities of Powhatan-class ocean tugs and Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ships.

Slavonic said he was leaving his post next week and, “I can’t think of a more fitting last ceremony than to name a ship after an Oklahoma tribe that has distinguished itself in many ways.”

“To be here, to be with fellow Oklahomans, to be able to see the wind blowing across this beautiful facility is certainly an honor,” Slavonic said. He said Muscogee (Creek) men and women had stepped forward “over and over again to preserve freedom for all of us.”

The USNS Muscogee Creek Nation will “strengthen the capability of our sailors and Marines to answer the challenge of great power competition in every corner of the globe.”

“She will carry the proud legacy of the people of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to ports around the world.”

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