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Fisher (T-AKR-301)


The first U.S. Navy ship named in honor of Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher in recognition of the support that they provided to the men and women of the United States armed forces.

New York real estate icon and philanthropist Zachary Fisher was born on 26 September 1910 and his wife Elizabeth was born in 1913. Zachary and Elizabeth both believed strongly in American citizens’ responsibility to honor the men and women who served in the armed forces. That belief led to many important efforts to serve the military and veterans’ community.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Fisher began working in construction at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter, he and his brothers, Martin and Larry, partnered to form Fisher Brothers. Since that time, the corporation has grown into one of the real estate industry's premier residential and commercial developers and owns more than five million square feet of office space.

From the earliest days of his construction career, Fisher was a strong supporter of the U.S. military. Prevented from active service in World War II due to a leg injury, he drew on his building skills to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in building coastal fortifications. His patronage of the military became an ongoing concern from that time and began to occupy increasing amounts of his energies.

During World War II, Mrs. Fisher served in the USO and entertained over 157,000 service members overseas with the Ziegfield Follies. She also volunteered to visit American forces that were hospitalized and spent many hours at their bedsides. In addition, she had a significant early involvement in the Veterans Bedside Network, a support organization for injured veterans. She and Zachary married in 1943.

In the 1970s the Fishers’ commitment to both the U.S. military as well as other philanthropic causes intensified still further through their leadership role in a number of major projects. In 1978, they founded the Intrepid Museum Foundation to save the carrier Intrepid (CV-11) from the breakers. Four years of involvement with the Foundation resulted in Mr. Fisher spearheading the opening of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in 1982.

Also in 1982, the Fishers established the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation. Through this Foundation they made significant contributions of between $10,000 and $25,000 to the families of military personnel killed in performance of their duty, beginning with the victims of the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983. The Fishers made similar donations to the families of New York City firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Armed Services Foundation also provided scholarship funds to active and former service members and their families.

In 1990 the Fishers began the Fisher House program and dedicated more than $20 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel. Fisher Houses operate at military bases and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers throughout the nation. More than 11,000 families are served by Fisher Houses every year. Since the program's inception, more than 120,000 families have stayed in Fisher Houses, saving them an estimated $100 million annually in lodging and transportation costs. The Fisher House program continues today with over 40 houses open and more planned and under construction.

In 1998 Mr. Fisher received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in honor of his wide-ranging contributions on behalf of the young men and women in the U.S. military. He also received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Horatio Alger Award, the President's Volunteer Action Award and the Senior Civilian Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. In December 1999, the U. S. Congress conferred upon Mr. Fisher the title of “Honorary Veteran of the United States” and became the second person to receive such recognition after comedian Bob Hope.

Zachary Fisher died in New York City on 4 June 1999; his wife Elizabeth on 12 January 2004.

(T-AKR-301: displacement 62,644; length 950'; beam 106'; draft 35'; speed 24 knots; complement 26 civilian (up to 45) up to 50 active duty; class Bob Hope)

Fisher (T-AKR-301) was laid down on 15 April 1996 at New Orleans, La., by Avondale Shipyard, Inc.; launched on 21 October 1997; and sponsored by Dr. Sunnie Kenowsky, a friend and personal physician of Mrs. Elizabeth Fisher. She entered non-commissioned U.S. Navy service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) with a primarily civilian crew on 4 August 1998. A non-combatant Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-off (LMSR) vessel, Fisher and other ships of her class are used to preposition tanks, trucks, various wheeled vehicles and supplies needed to support an army heavy brigade. She is assigned to the MSC Atlantic surge force and is maintained at 96-hour readiness status at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington.

During mobilization for the continuing global war on terrorism, the MSC surge fleet of LMSRs and fast sealift ships delivered 10.7 million square feet of cargo. This was approximately forty percent of the total dry cargo carried by all MSC government-owned and chartered ships during fiscal year 2004.

The Surge Project fleet includes 11 LMSRs and eight fast sealift ships that are all maintained in a four-day reduced operating status at various U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports. The LMSRs are especially suited for transporting heavy or bulky unit equipment such as tanks, large wheeled vehicles and helicopters.

Surge Project LMSRs were one of MSCs biggest success stories during the 2004 deployment phase of the Operation Iraqi Freedom troop and equipment rotation. They were activated within three days and maintained an average speed of more than 17 knots throughout the deployment. With a 300,000 square foot capacity per ship, the 11 Surge Project LMSRs delivered more than 7.6 million square feet of cargo in 39 voyages. This averaged 194,540 square feet per ship per voyage. One LMSR effectively replaced six commercial ships chartered during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91.

Detailed history under construction.

Paul J. Marcello

14 December 2015

Published: Wed Dec 16 09:23:32 EST 2015