Navy commissions newest amphibious assault ship

14 Jan 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Blaich

The USS San Antonio was commissioned in front of more than 6000 people here, Jan. 14. Among the honored guests were former President George H. W. Bush and  Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee.

The USS San Antonio, commanded by Navy Capt. Jonathan M. Padfield, is the first ship built from the keel up with input from Marine and Navy operators, maintainers and trainers who will ultimately use the ship. The San Antonio was designed to support a Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting conventional or special operations around the world. The ship offers naval expeditionary forces greater operational flexibility and is capable of operating independently or as a part of an amphibious joint task force.

The LPD-17 capabilities include a state–of–the-art command and control suite, substantially increased landing force vehicle lift capacity and a large flight deck. The LPD-17 is the first naval ship to support all three means of amphibious mobility of the Marine Corps, which is the landing craft, air cushioned (LCAC) amphibious landing craft, MV-22 Osprey vertical take off and landing aircraft and Marine expeditionary fighting vehicles.

The berthing areas are considerably larger than ships of the past with sit-up berths, integral sanitary facilities and adjacent lounges. Berths will also have individual ventilation fans and 40 percent more storage space. It is the first ship designed for equal quality of life facilities for males and females, sailors and Marines.

The USS San Antonio has a crew of more than 300 and is capable of carrying 800 Marines, including surge.  The ship is 684 feet in length and travels at speeds over 22 knots.

“The ship truly represents what the Navy and Marine Corps do for this great nation. We project a sustainable, combat power ashore, anywhere in the world, without a permission slip. That’s what we do and we do it better than anyone else,” Hagee proudly stated.

The USS San Antonio will play a major role in future amphibious actions and by placing Marines at the forefront of global operations, which will help protect freedom and maintain peace all over the world.

“This is truly a 21st century ship that we need today, but the ship is only part of it,” said Hagee. “When it comes down to it, it is about the sailors and Marines that command her and I want to thank them for what they’re about to do on this super ship.”