The Navy will commission the newest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship San Diego during a 10 a.m. PDT ceremony Saturday, May 19, 2012, in San Diego, Calif.
The ship is named for the city of San Diego, principal homeport of the Pacific fleet, and honors the people of “America’s Finest City” and its leaders for their continuous support of the military.
Three previous ships have carried the name San Diego -- the armored cruiser named in 1914, the World War II-era cruiser commissioned in 1942 and the combat stores ship commissioned in 1969.
Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Additional remarks will be given by Jerry Sanders, mayor, City of San Diego; Sean J. Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy (research, development and acquisition); Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander Naval Surface Forces; Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, commanding general, 1st Marine Division; and Rear Adm. David H. Lewis, program executive officer - ships.
Linda Winter, wife of Former Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, is serving as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
Designated as LPD 22, the USS San Diego is the sixth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class. The principal mission of LPD 17 San Antonio-class ships is to deploy combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. With the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion or conventional landing craft and augmented by helicopters or MV-22 vertical take-off and landing aircraft, these ships support amphibious assault, special operations, and expeditionary warfare missions. The USS San Diego 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.
Cmdr. Kevin P. Meyers, a native of Baltimore, is the commanding officer of the ship, leading a crew of approximately 377 officers and enlisted personnel. Upon commissioning, the USS San Diego will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., as a part of the U.S. Third Fleet.
Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., the USS San Diego is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet, displaces about 24,900 tons and is capable of embarking a landing force of about 800 Marines. Four turbo-charged diesel engines power the ship to sustained speeds in excess of 22 knots.
This event will be aired live on the U.S. Navy Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/usnavy and Livestream channel (http://www.livestream.com/usnavy) beginning at 10 a.m. PDT. Join the conversation on social media using #ClassyLPD.
For more information about this class of ship, please visit the Navy Fact File: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=600&ct=4 .
UPDATE: May 17, 2012 – A social media hashtag was added.