General Dynamics Nassco laid the keel of its third mobile landing platform ship in ceremonies Nov. 5 at its Barrio Logan shipyard.

The U.S. Navy logistics ship will be called the USNS Lewis B. Puller, after U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller, a five-time recipient of the Navy Cross.

The ship is the third in the USNS Montford Point class that will go together at the Nassco yard.

The Lewis B. Puller is the first of the ships to be built as an afloat forward staging base. The variation makes the ship better suited to transfer vehicles and equipment while at sea. The 785-foot-long ship also features a very large helicopter flight deck.

Nassco said the Navy plans to use the ship to support special operations missions and large-scale airborne mine countermeasure missions.

Nassco plans to deliver the Lewis B. Puller in the second quarter of 2015.

— SDBJ Staff Report