Scene on the Sound: USNS Matthew C. Perry

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

USNS Matthew Perry
Photo by Jan Hansen

Text and photo by Jan Hansen

This morning a vessel sailed through the Shoreline Sea on her way to Japan. Too large to ignore is the massive replenishment ship, USNS Matthew C. Perry (T-AKE 9), Military Sealift Command. The name “Perry” and Japan have quite a history.

The Navy website states that USNS MATTHEW PERRY is the ninth LEWIS AND CLARK - class Dry Cargo / Ammunition Ship, and the first ship in the Navy to honor Navy Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858), who led a squadron of ships to Japan in 1853 with the aim of opening that nation to trade.

He served during the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, and was sent to suppress piracy and the slave trade in the West Indies.

Wikipedia says that President Millard Fillmore sent Commodore Perry to force the opening of Japanese ports to American trade, using gunboat diplomacy, if necessary. In 1853 Perry did push his ships into Nagasaki and attempted to intimidate the Japanese. It was early July when he fired blank shots from his 73 cannons. He claimed this was in celebration of American Independence Day, but powerful, destructive shells were aboard if the Japanese chose to fight.

World trade contained threats even then.

The USNS MATTHEW PERRY was delivered in San Diego in early 2010. The next year she aided Japan by participating in disaster relief after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. During 21 days of operations, the MATTHEW C.PERRY completed 17 separate replenishment events, delivering more than 1.5 million gallons of fuel and transporting relief supplies.



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