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Navy ‘Pier in the Sea’ Ship Christened at SD Yard

posted: 3/7/2013
SAN DIEGO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) -- The Navy’s first mobile landing platform ship (MLP), USNS Montford Point, was christened March 2 at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.            

The ship, which is named in honor of the 20,000 African-Americans who trained at Camp Montford Point in North Carolina from 1942 to 1949 during an era of segregation within the military, was christened by its sponsor, Alexis “Jackie” Bolden, the wife of retired Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, an astronaut and current NASA administrator.            

“As an interoperable ‘pier in the sea,’ the (mobile landing platform) will significantly reduce our requirement for foreign ports in which to offload our equipment,” said Gen James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, who delivered the ceremony’s principal address.            

The Los Angeles Times reported that 30 of the original Montford Point marines attended the christening.            

Montford Point, the first of three MLPs being built for the Military Sealift Command (MSC) by NASSCO, provides 25,000 square feet of space for vehicles, equipment and 380,000 gallons of fuel, according to the Navy. A crew of 34 civilian mariners employed by MSC will operate the ship once delivered to the fleet.            

The 785-foot ship will join the MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Force as a seagoing pier when access to onshore bases is denied, serving as a transfer point for a Marine Corps amphibious landing force between large ships and ship to shore landing craft. The ship also provides the ability to transfer vehicles and equipment at sea while interfacing with surface connectors to deliver the vehicles and equipment ashore, improving the Navy’s ability to deliver equipment and cargo from offshore to an amphibious objective.            

MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

-- A report from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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