General Dynamics NASSCO on Saturday christened the U.S. Navy’s newest ship, the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3 AFSB).
The ship is the first of the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) class to be configured as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), adding a flight deck, berthing, fuel storage, equipment storage, repair spaces, and accommodations for up to 250 personnel.
The ship is named in honor of the late U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine and the only one to be awarded five Navy Crosses.
The Saturday morning christening ceremony took place at NASSCO’s San Diego shipyard with the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., as the ceremony’s principal speaker. Ms. Martha Puller Downs, daughter of General Puller, served as the ship’s sponsor. She christened the ship by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against the vessel’s hull.
“Today was a proud moment for the thousands of men and women involved with the design and construction of the USNS Lewis B. Puller,” said Kevin M. Graney, vice president and general manager of the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. “Like its namesake, Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, the ship signifies strength and increased mobility and capability to support a variety of missions carried out by the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy.”
The USNS Lewis B. Puller is capable of supporting missions including counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response.
USNS Lewis B. Puller will be delivered to the Navy in the second quarter of 2015 and will be operated by Military Sealift Command. The ship follows the first two Mobile Landing Platforms, USNS Montford Point (MLP 1), delivered in May 2013, and USNS John Glenn (MLP-2), delivered in March 2014.