The USNS Montford Point rests at its moorings along the Mare Island docks on Tuesday. The ship is designed to be a large-scale mobile landing and launch platform for the US Navy, and is docked at Mare Island Dry Dock for light repairs. PHOTO MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD
There is a celebrity currently visiting Mare Island.
Her name is the USNS Montford Point and she has quite a noticeable appearance at 765 feet long – big enough to displace 34,500 tons of water.
And she is at Mare Island for some rest and repairs.
Designated as the first Mobile Landing Platform ship, the Montford Point is part of a new breed of ship built for the United States Navy, while being modeled after the Alaska-class crude oil carrier design.
This design allows for huge areas of open space in the middle of the ship for the transport of large items.
“The MLP is a flexible platform that will provide capability for large-scale logistics movements such as the transfer of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a 2012 press release. “It will significantly reduce dependency on foreign ports and provide support in the absence of any port, making it especially useful during disaster response and for supporting Marines once they are ashore.”
The ship includes a vehicle staging area, sideport ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three landing craft air cushioned vessel (LCAC) lanes, as an auxiliary ship to be used as a floating pier in the event of tactical operations.
While making a noticeable appearance in Vallejo, the meaning behind the ship’s name is also an important feature and holds special meaning for many Americans.
“The USNS Montford Point honors the approximately 20,000 African-American Marine Corps recruits who trained at the North Carolina facility from 1942-1949,” according to the same press release. “Their exceptional service prompted President Truman to sign an executive order in 1948 ending segregation in the U.S. military services.”
“There aren’t too many places to park it (in the area),” Christina Snyder, executive vice president of contracts with Mare Island Dry Dock, said with a laugh by phone Tuesday morning.
She also said that the ship is bringing attention to the repair services provided by the Mare Island Dry Dock company, which operates Dry Dock number 2 and 3 over 18 plus acres of land at the former naval base.
Built in 2012, the USNS Montford Point is not alone, as she has two siblings.
The USNS John Glenn, completed in early 2014, honors John Glenn, a decorated Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and U.S. Senator.
The final auxiliary support ship is the USNS Lewis B. Puller, named in honor of Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine in history and the only one to be awarded five Navy Crosses, according to the same Navy press release.
The USNS Lewis B. Puller, completed in the end of 2014, is different from the USNS Montford Point and USNS John Glenn, because the third ship will also be used as an afloat forward staging base.
Snyder confirmed that the USNS Montford Point will be docked at Mare Island for the next 60 days for some light repairs before getting back to service.
Contact John Glidden at 707-553-6832.
Article: Vallejo Times-Herald