US Navy to commission USS Lewis B Puller

USNS Lewis B Puller departs Naval Station Norfolk to begin its first operational deployment

The US Navy will commission the expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3) during a ceremony today at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain.

The Lewis B Puller is the second ship to bear the name of Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, a distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War. Puller is the only marine to have been awarded the Navy Cross on five separate occasions and is the most decorated individual in the history of the USMC. The first Lewis B Puller (FFG 23), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, served from 1982-1998, and was then transferred to the Egyptian Navy and renamed Toushka.

Lewis B Puller will be commanded by Navy Capt. Adan G. Cruz and crewed by navy sailors and civilian mariners. The civilian mariners will be led by the ship’s Master, Captain Jonathon Olmsted. According to the US Navy, the commissioning will give combatant commanders greater operational flexibility on how they employ the vessel in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.

Lewis B Puller will be replacing afloat forward staging base (interim) USS Ponce. As an AFSB, Ponce was able to stage people and equipment in support of multiple maritime missions in the Fifth Fleet area of operations. Lewis B Puller will serve as the first ship built specifically for the purpose of serving as an afloat expeditionary sea base.

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