Tag Archives: Lewis B. Puller-class

Expeditionary Sea Base

The keel for the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7), a Lewis B. Puller-class Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB), was laid at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, October 21.

USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7)
The keel for the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7), a Lewis B. Puller-class Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB), was laid at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, October 21. ESB-7 is named for Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek, a Medal of Honor and Purple Heart awardee, and the ceremony was attended by his daughter, Ann Simanek

The ship is named for Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for shielding fellow Marines from a grenade at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Korean War. The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a White House ceremony in 1953.

Simanek recently passed away on August 1, 2022. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he received a Purple Heart award, the Korean Service Medal with two bronze service stars, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. His daughter, Ann Simanek, is the sponsor of the ship and attended the keel laying ceremony.

«We are honored this ship will celebrate the late Robert E. Simanek’s legacy as a Medal of Honor recipient and Korean War veteran and his dedication to our country», said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. «ESBs provide a critical capability to the fleet and provide for increased flexibility».

Expeditionary Sea Base ships are highly flexible platforms used across a broad range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are a part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with adaptable distribution capability.

These ships support Aviation Mine Countermeasure and Special Operations Force missions. In addition to the flight deck, the ESB has a hangar with two aviation operating spots capable of handling MH-53E Sea Dragon equivalent helicopters, accommodations, workspaces, and ordnance storage for embarked force, enhanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I). These ships support embarked force mission planning and execution and has a reconfigurable mission deck area to store embarked force equipment, including mine sleds and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).

In 2019, the Navy decided to commission all Expeditionary Sea Base ships to allow them to conduct a broader and more lethal mission set compared to original plans for them to operate with a USNS designation. A Navy O-6 commands ESBs and a hybrid-manned crew of military personnel and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners. This crew makeup provides combatant commanders with increased operational flexibility in employing the platform.

Construction of the future USS John L. Canley (ESB-6) and the Navy’s John Lewis Class Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) are ongoing at GD-NASSCO.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, sealift ships, support ships, boats, and craft.

Fifth ESB Ship

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) started construction on the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7) on December 1, 2021, the fifth ship of the U.S. Navy’s reclassified Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.

USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7)
General Dynamics NASSCO Begins Construction on Fifth Ship in the ESB Program for the U.S. Navy

Dennis DuBard, a long-time NASSCO employee and the Start of Construction honoree, initiated the first cut of steel that will be used to construct the vessel.

«Today, we start construction of the ship that honors the life and service of the ship’s namesake, Marine Corps Private First Class Robert E. Simanek», said Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. «This ship represents the thousands of men and women who will spend roughly 2 million hours building this ship».

ESB ships are highly flexible platforms designed to support multiple maritime-based missions, including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), Special Operations Forces (SOF), and limited crisis response. Acting as a mobile sea base, this 784-foot ship will be configured with a 52,000 square-foot/4,830 square-meter flight deck to support MH-53, MH-60, MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, and H1 aircraft operations.

The future USS John L. Canley (ESB-6), the fourth ship in the ESB program, is scheduled to be launched in the summer of 2022. The first three ships in the ESB program for the U.S. Navy – USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), USS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4), and USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) – have been delivered.

Miguel Keith

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest expeditionary mobile base, the USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5), during a 10:00 a.m. PST ceremony Saturday, May 8, at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, California.

USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5)
The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) sits pierside during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. The Miguel Keith is the Navy’s third purpose-built expeditionary sea base (ESB). While originally created to operate as a support ship under Military Sealift Command, USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) has been commissioned to provide greater mission flexibility in accordance with the laws of armed conflict. USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) is named after Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Lance Corporal Miguel Keith and is the first ship to bear the name (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin C. Leitner)

Due to public health and safety concerns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the commissioning ceremony was private with a limited audience.

Admiral Craig Faller, commander, U.S. Southern Command, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal remarks. Mrs. Eliadora Delores Keith, Lance Corporal Miguel Keith’s mother, was the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Eliadora Keith gives the order to «man our ship and bring her to life»!

Captain Troy A. Fendrick, a native of Tempe, Arizona, is the ship’s commanding officer and leads a crew of roughly 100 military officers and crew, alongside 44 Military Sealift Civil Service Mariners. The ship is 785 feet/239 m in length, has a beam of 164 feet/50 m, and a navigational draft of approximately 39 feet/12 m.

The ship, named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Lance Corporal Miguel Keith, was built in San Diego by General Dynamics National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO) and was delivered to the Navy on November 15, 2019.

USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) is the third Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB). ESB was previously known as Afloat Forward Staging Base. These vessels are highly flexible platforms that provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations. The ESB is designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging area, and command and control.

USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) will be part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force operating from Saipan.