Amphibious ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) transited the Panama Canal while in 4th Fleet’s area of operations for the first time in her history Nov. 9.
Anchorage departed the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Shipbuilding site in Avondale, La. Oct. 30 to sail to her future homeport of San Diego.
The canal, opened in 1914, serves as a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for merchant and military vessels, saving them from the nearly 8000-mile journey around South America.
With a beam measuring 105 feet, Anchorage, a San Antonio-class LPD, is among the largest class of ships able to safely pass through the canal, whose locks measure 110 feet. She completed the transit in 13 hours.
“It was amazing to see how the ship fit in the locks and was pulled along,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class Teanesha Jones, who like most of the crew was experiencing the canal transit for the first time. “I guess it really opens your eyes on how we [the Navy] get from one side of the world to the other and the kind of international cooperation that plays into that.”
Anchorage will next make a brief port visit to La Manzanilla, Mexico before completing the final leg of her transit to homeport where a homecoming ceremony will welcome back the Sailors and Marines assigned to the ship, most of whom have been away from home for more than seven months.
Anchorage is the seventh San Antonio class amphibious transport dock. She was built at the HII Shipbuilding site in Avondale, La. and delivered to the U.S. Navy Sept. 17. The ship will be commissioned in May in her namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska and is the second ship to be named for the city.
Naval Today Staff, November 15, 2012; Image: US Navy