Released 18 May 1998
Nine 5th graders in Oak Lawn Elementary School in Cranston, Rhode Island, and twenty-one 6th, 7th and 8th graders in St Martin's Lutheran School in Annapolis, Maryland have made it to the top in the Navy's nationwide contest to find a name for it's newest multi-purpose TAG-S 60 class oceanographic survey ship.
The Cranston team chose the name USNS BRUCE C. HEEZEN, after a American oceanographer known for his work on plate tectonics and sea floor mapping, who died while diving in the Navy's deep submersible submarine, NR1. The Annapolis team settled on USNS CORIOLIS, from the word for the shift in the direction of the wind. With 1998 being the designated the international Year of the Ocean, they hope that this year the world will shift its thinking about how we treat the world's oceans and seas.
The new ship, being built in Moss Point, Mississippi, is now simply called the TAG-S 64. The Navy's contest to name the new ship began at the beginning of this school year when the Navy League of the United States sent out over 100,000 announcement posters to every school in the country, and both the Navy and the National Geographic Society posted Websites announcing the student contest. Interested students formed teams to decide on names and develop school projects that supported their name proposals. The contest ended on December 31st with over 1600 entries received nationwide. The Annapolis team collected data about explorers, shipbuilding, the oceans, navigation, and naval history. They built ship models and tested them, and developed an historic timeline of oceanographic events which they presented to other school classes. The Cranston team took their show of nine different 'learning centers," including "The Faces of the Deep," "Treasures of the Deep," and "Poseidon's Revenge," on the road throughout their community in a series of 'nautical' science fairs. They also raised money and adopted a whale named 'Bat.'
Representatives from both winning student teams will be in Washington, DC on June 5 when The Honorable John Dalton, Secretary of the Navy, Rear Admiral Paul Tobin, Oceanographer of the Navy, and other Navy officials host them at the Navy Memorial Foundation and announce the winning name of the new TAG-S 64 to the world. The top winning team will be invited to the christening and launch of the ship later this year.
The top entries from each state and territory in the Navy's contest were reviewed in Washington by a panel of nine judges, made up of Navy and civilian historians, authors, teachers, academics, and ship operators. The judging criteria weighed both the proposed names, and the student projects, and rated each on a point sytem. Names, states, and schools were not considered. A complete description of the contest, its rules, name criteria, and judging criteria, can be found on the Navy's Website: http://oceanographer.navy.mil