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Built as commercial container ship LICA MAERSK in Denmark in 1980, the ship was lengthened by Hyundai in 1987 and in the early 1990s, the Navy purchased the LICA MAERSK. The ship subsequently underwent conversion to a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) at NASSCO and was delivered to the Military Sealift Command in 1997 where the ship entered service as USNS SODERMAN becoming the first ship in the Navy named after US Army Pfc. William A. Soderman. The USNS SODERMAN was operated by Bay Ship Management, Inc. under US Navy Military Sealift Command charter, and was manned by US Merchant Marine personnel.
In May 2000, the SODERMAN transferred to the Maritime Prepositioning Force, converted into a Maritime Prepositioning Force (Enhanced) ship and re-named GYSGT FRED W. STOCKHAM. On March 1, 2001, she was recommissioned to serve in her new role.
|General Characteristics:||Delivered: 1980|
|Builder: Lindovaerftet, Odense, Denmark|
|Conversion yard: National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif.|
|Delivered to MSC as USNS SODERMAN: November 11, 1997|
|Decommissioned: May 2000|
|Commissioned as FRED W. STOCKHAM: March 1, 2001|
|Propulsion system: 1 Burmeister & Wain 12L90 GFCA diesel; 1 shaft; bow and stern thrusters|
|Length: 908.8 (277 meters)|
|Beam: 105.6 feet (32.2 meters)|
|Draft: 34.8 feet (10.6 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 54,450 tons full load|
|Speed: 24 knots|
|Aircraft: helicopter landing area only|
|Capacity: 312,461 sq. ft.|
|Crew: 26 civilian crew (up to 45); up to 50 active duty|
|Homeport: Diego Garcia|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USNS GYSGT FRED W. STOCKHAM. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
About the Ship's Name:
USNS GYSGT FRED W. STOCKHAM is named in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Fred W. Stockham who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in action at the cost of his own life at Bois-de-Belleau, France on the night of June 13-14, 1918.
Fred W. Stockham, Gunnery Sergeant, 96th Company, 2nd Battalion,6th Regiment, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy in Bois-de-Belleau, France, on the night of June 13-14, 1918. During an intense enemy bombardment with high explosive and gas shells which wounded or killed many members of the company, Sergeant Stockham, upon noticing that the gas mask of a wounded comrade was shot away, without hesitation, removed his own mask and insisted upon giving it to the wounded man, well knowing that the effects of the gas would be fatal to himself. Despite the fact that he was without protection of a gas mask, he continued with undaunted courage and valor to direct and assist in the evacuation of the wounded in an area saturated with gas and swept by heavy artillery fire, until he himself collapsed from the effects of the gas, dying as a result thereof a few days later. His courageous conduct undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades and his conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self- sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to all who served with him.
USNS GYSGT FRED W. STOCKHAM Image Gallery:
The photo below was taken by Stefan Karpinski and shows the GYSGT FRED W. STOCKHAM being escorted through Bab El Mandeb by the German frigate MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN (F 218) during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003.