WASHINGTON, D.C - One of the U.S. Navy's newest ships has been named after the Cherokee Nation, announced Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer Friday. 

Their newest Towing, Salvage, and Rescue ship has been named "USNS Cherokee Nation" in honor of the service and contributions the Cherokee people have made to the Navy and Marine Corps team.

“It is my privilege to announce that the many Cherokee Nation citizens who’ve served throughout the years will be remembered with the highest honor a Secretary of the Navy can bestow, the naming of a ship,” said Spencer. “The future USNS Cherokee Nation will expand our capabilities and form a critical backbone for the strength and readiness of our entire fleet.”

This is the fifth U.S. ship to be named in honor of the Cherokee people.

"The Cherokee Nation is extremely honored that the U.S. Navy is recognizing our tribal nation and the generations of Cherokee men and women who have bravely, and humbly sacrificed for our freedom today," Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. "Our Cherokee people have contributed in every major battle and war ever fought in this country, and continue to serve in the Armed Forces in some of the highest rates per ethnicity. Cherokees are a strong, resilient people and we are privileged to have a US ship at sea that reflects both our country and tribe's history and values."