Keel-laying ceremony

On Monday, December 5, General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) laid the keel for the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO-208), the fourth ship in the John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler program for the U.S. Navy.

USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO-208)
General Dynamics NASSCO Lays Keel for Future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO-208)

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, sixth Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, the sponsor for the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO-208) and daughter of the ship’s namesake, welded her initials onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the ship’s keel and will remain with the vessel throughout its time in service.

Former Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus declared the John Lewis-class of oilers be named after leaders who fought for civil and human rights. The fourth ship honors Robert F. Kennedy, who served as the U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and as a U.S. Senator from New York from 1965-1968.