US Navy amphibious transport dock completes maiden journey, reaches homeport

USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) conducts builder's trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Huntington Ingalls Industries

U.S. Navy’s amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) arrived at her homeport of San Diego November 18, completing the ship’s maiden voyage.

Following four years of construction and successful sea trials this summer in the Gulf of Mexico, the Navy’s newest amphibious transport dock ship set sail for home in August.

Along the way, the crew conducted equipment checks, system tests, crew certification, and countless hours of underway training.

Upon departing the shipyard, the ship visited Newport, R.I., where the crew hosted the leadership of more than 100 heads of navies as part of the CNO’s International Seapower Symposium (ISS), and commissioned at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

In addition, the ship made port visits to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Bridgetown, Barbados, where they engaged in local community relations projects. They visited Mayport, Florida to prepare for their Panama Canal transit and made one last stop in Balboa, Panama, before arriving in San Diego.

USS John P. Murtha is the tenth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class. These ships incorporate both a flight deck to accommodate all U.S. Marine Corps helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as a well deck that can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles.

“To be a part of a commissioning crew, also known as a plankowner, is a very special honor that not all sailors get the opportunity to be a part of during their career,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Jon Crisafulli, the command’s senior enlisted leader. “To watch this crew come together from day one and exceed all expectations has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my Naval career. I am proud of each and every sailor on board, and we are all excited to bring our ship to our new home in San Diego.”

The ship is named in honor of Congressman John P. Murtha, who served his country both as a Marine and in the halls of Congress. Murtha served in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years and saw service in Vietnam, a tour that earned him the Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Murtha represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 until his death in 2010.

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