The USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) was christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding on Saturday, March 21. The vessel is named after the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat from the 12th district, who was the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania history. His daughter, Donna Murtha, sponsored the ship and performed the traditional breaking of a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was the featured speaker at the ceremony. «Jack Murtha poured everything – everything he was, everything he had – into the service of our country and the lives of the American people», she said of her colleague, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District for 36 years until his death in 2010. «To watch Chairman Murtha legislate was to see a master at work, but more indicative of his character was to watch him communicate with our men and women in uniform, whether on the battlefield or at their bedside. He knew how serious a responsibility it is to send our men and women into harm’s way, and he was unwavering in his conviction that we must honor their sacrifice not only with our words but our deeds. Like its namesake, the John P. Murtha will provide our servicemen and women the means to enter the battle and to make their way back home», Pelosi continued. «Congratulations to Ingalls Shipbuilding and all of the hard-working men and women who have put their skill and determination into this ship and this special day».
Murtha’s daughter, Donna S. Murtha, is the ship sponsor. At the culmination of the ceremony, she smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship, officially christening LPD 26 as the John P. Murtha. «May God bless this ship and all who sail in her», she said.
HII President and CEO Mike Petters also spoke at the ceremony. «Ingalls is building each ship better than the last, and the team’s performance – and the performance of the delivered LPDs – has strengthened the nation’s confidence in the LPD program», he said. «This was most recently demonstrated by the Navy’s request and the Congressional investment in the 12th San Antonio-class warship – and the Navy’s selection of this proven hull-form for its new LX(R) class of amphibious ships. Ingalls is making a difference».
«The ship we christen today honors Congressman John P. Murtha, who proudly served his country as both a Marine and a statesman for almost 40 years», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «I can’t imagine a more fitting namesake to represent the marvel of American technology, craftsmanship and strength that is LPD-26. Ingalls shipbuilders know that quality matters. We build our warships as though our own sons and daughters will take them into harm’s way – because they may. And because we owe our warfighters our very best. Our shipbuilders put their hearts and souls into every ship we build – as we have for generations. LPD-26 is no exception. Murtha was the most complete and lowest-cost LPD when she was launched, with many key systems finished months ahead of our historical best. So I’m extremely proud of our LPD-26 shipbuilders».
«Deep in the hull or on scaffolding hundreds of feet in the air – in the Deep South heat – these Mississippians are welding, painting and assembling the living quarters, galley, hospital and the command centers for those who serve», said Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. «You can see their commitment to a job well done – because they know the invaluable role they play in America’s national security».
John P. Murtha (LPD-26)
The amphibious transport dock ship John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is the tenth ship in the San Antonio Class. LPD-26 is named in honor of Congressman John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District for 36 years – from 1974 until his death in 2010. In addition to his tenured history in the House of Representatives, Murtha was also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and Reserves. He served a distinguished 37 years, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat «V», two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service in the Vietnam War. He retired as a colonel in 1990.
Amphibious transport dock ships (LPD) are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. LPDs are used to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft (Landing Craft Utility, LCU) and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV) or Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (MV-22). These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.
Collectively, the San Antonio LPD-17 class ships will functionally replace more than 41 amphibious ships (LPD-4, LSD-36, LKA-113 and LST-1179 classes of amphibious ships) providing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with modern, seabased platforms that are networked, survivable, and built to operate with 21st century transformational platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey aircraft, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), and future means by which Marines are delivered ashore.
A contract for final design and construction of San Antonio (LPD-17), the lead ship in the class, was awarded in December 1996; actual construction commenced in June 2000. USS San Antonio was delivered to the Navy in July 2005. LPDs 18-25 have also been delivered to the U.S. Navy. New York (LPD-21) is the first of three LPD 17-class ships built in honor of the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The ships bow stem was constructed using 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center. The Navy named the 8th and 9th ships of the class – Arlington and Somerset – in honor of the victims of the attacks on the Pentagon and United Flight 93, respectively. Materials from those sites were also incorporated into Arlington and Somerset.
LPDs 26-27 are currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on the Gulf Coast, and will deliver over the next few years. The keel of LPD-27 was laid in August 2013, LPD-26 was launched in October 2014. In fiscal year 2015, the purchase of long lead-time materials for LPD-28 was approved.
|Builder||Huntington Ingalls Industries|
|Displacement||Approximately 24,900 long tons/25,300 metric tons full load|
|Length||208.5 m/684 feet overall|
|Beam||31.9 m/105 feet extreme|
|Draft||7 m/23 feet|
|Propulsion||4 sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, 2 shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower/31,021 kW|
|Speed||In excess of 22 knots/25 mph/41 km/h|
|Crew||374 Sailors (28 officers, 346 enlisted Sailors) and 3 Marines|
|Embarked||Marine Expeditionary Force of 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted), surge capacity to 800|
|Armament||2 × Bushmaster II 30-mm Close in Guns, fore and aft|
|2 × Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers for air defense, fore and aft|
|10 × 12.7-mm .50 calibre machine guns|
|Aircraft||Launch or land two CH53E Super Stallion helicopters or|
|Two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or|
|Up to four CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters|
|Landing/Attack Craft||Two LCACs or one LCU|
|Ships||USS San Antonio (LPD-17)|
|USS New Orleans (LPD-18)|
|USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19)|
|USS Green Bay (LPD-20)|
|USS New York (LPD-21)|
|USS San Diego (LPD-22)|
|USS Anchorage (LPD-23)|
|USS Arlington (LPD-24)|
|USS Somerset (LPD-25)|
|USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26)|
|USS Portland (LPD-27)|
Ingalls Shipbuilding Launches John P. Murtha (LPD-26) on October 30, 2014