US Navy christens amphibious transport dock John P. Murtha

The U.S. Navy has commissioned the amphibious transport dock ship John P. Murtha (LPD 26) on Saturday, Oct. 8, during a ceremony at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

Designated LPD 26, John P. Murtha is the tenth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class.

These ships incorporate both a flight deck to accommodate CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as a well deck that can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles.

The ship is named in honor of John P. Murtha, who served his country both as a Marine and in the halls of congress. Murtha served in the Marine Corps for 37 years and saw service in the Korean War and in Vietnam, a tour that earned him the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Murtha represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 until his death in 2010.

John P. Murtha will provide improved warfighting capabilities, including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift capability, in vehicle and cargo carrying capacity and advanced ship survivability features. The ship is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 669 troops and a surge capacity of up to 800.

The ship will be crewed by 381 officers, enlisted personnel and Marines. The 24,900-ton John P. Murtha was built at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship is 684 feet (208 m) in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet (32 m), and a navigational draft of 23 feet. Four turbo-charged diesel engines power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots.

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