Gulf Island lays the Keel for USNS Cherokee Nation

Houma’s Gulf Island Shipyard held a keel laying ceremony for the USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7) yesterday afternoon at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.


Elected officials; U.S. Navy, Cherokee Nation and Gulf Island representatives; and other local attendees filled the room.


Michael Kosar, Navy Program Manager for the Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office; Chuck Hoskin Jr., Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation; and Victoria Vazquez, Deputy Speaker for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council and sponsor of the USNS Cherokee Nation, gave remarks.

Following the remarks, the keel was authenticated by Vazquez and Hoskin, who signed their initials that were then engraved into the keel plate – which is the symbolic backbone of the ship.


“We recognize the strong foundation of the ship and the crew that will serve our great country,” Vazquez said. “May she continue to be strong and carry on our tradition, culture and strength in all her endeavors.”


This is the second ship in the new class of T-ATS.


The future vessel is expected to replace the existing T-ATF 166 and T-ARS 50 class ships in service with the US Military Sealift Command.


Gulf Island will build the vessel at its shipyard in Houma.


Completion is scheduled for July 2021.


This is just one of the vessels Gulf Island has been awarded to complete for the Navy.


This past October, the company held a keel ceremony for the USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6).