US Navy christening USNS Miguel Keith (ESB 5)

General Dynamics NASSCO photo of future USNS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) departs

The US Navy is set to hold a christening ceremony for the expeditionary sea base ship USNS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) on October 19, at General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego.

The ship is being christened after it completed acceptance trials earlier this month.

ESB 5 is named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, and is the first ship to bear the name.

Equipped with an aviation hangar and flight deck that includes four operating spots capable of landing MV-22 and MH-53E equivalent helicopters, accommodations, work spaces, and ordnance storage for an embarked force, the platform will also provide enhanced command and control, communications, computers, and intelligence capabilities to support embarked force mission planning and execution.

The reconfigurable mission deck area can store embarked force equipment including mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats.

Built by General Dynamics NASSCO as part of the broader Montford Point-class, ESB 5 is one of five ships built in two variants: expeditionary transfer dock and expeditionary sea base. USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1), USNS John Glenn (T-ESD 2), and USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), and USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) have been delivered to the fleet.

Miguel Keith is the third platform of the ESB variant, and is scheduled to be delivered later this year.

The ship’s delivery is running behind schedule because of a 2018 accident in which a graving dock was flooded, knocking the under-construction vessel off its blocks and leading to water ingress. The ship’s initial delivery date had been set for May this year.

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