Fifth-graders pick Navy ship's name

A new Navy high-tech research ship that will map the world's oceans will be named USNS Bruce Heezen, which was the winning entry from a class of nine fifth-graders from Oak Lawn Elementary School, Cranston, R.I.

The students won the Navy's contest to name the new T-AGS-60 Class research ship. The name honors the pioneering Navy marine investigator celebrated for his work on plate tectonics. Heezen died while diving in the Navy's deep-submersible submarine, NR-1.

The ship-naming contest, part of a year-long project run by Rear Adm. Paul Tobin, the oceanographer of the Navy, attracted about 2,000 entries from schoolchildren. The project was designed to expand students' knowledge of the ocean. This is the first time in history the Navy has allowed civilians to choose a ship name.

The Cranston students will get a look at "their" ship in December, when they journey to the Halter Marine Group Inc. shipyard in Moss Point, Miss., for its launch.

The Heezen will be equipped with a sophisticated suite of electronic gear, computers and communications equipment to help the Navy study and map the oceans and ocean floor.

The second-place finisher in the contest was a team of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from St. Martin's Lutheran School, Annapolis, Md., who chose the name "Coriolis," which is a term for shifts in the wind.

Navy Secretary John Dalton announced the service will apply that name to a new scientific satellite designed to study the oceans.

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