SAN DIEGO - San Diego welcomed USS New Orleans (LPD 18), the Navy’s newest surface ship, as it arrived at its new homeport May 3.
New Orleans, the second of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport ships, is the first of its class homeported on the West Coast. She is a Hurricane Katrina survivor and the first ship built and commissioned in her namesake city.
“The ship's building process was put on hold during the hurricane, but was continued as the work forces started to operate again," said New Orleans Commanding Officer Cmdr. John B. Skillman. "The ship was kind of a start in the rebuilding process of the city.”
“This ship is a great addition for us here in San Diego,” said Commander Expeditionary Strike Group 3 Rear Adm. Mark W. Balmert. “This ship brings a new generation of warfighting here. It has more capabilities in terms of self defense -- and it can carry more Marines, vehicles, and aircraft -- than the ships it’s replacing.”
According to New Orleans' Web site, the ship possesses state-of-the-art warfighting capabilities. The ship accommodates the Marine Corps’ “mobility triad” -- Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicles, landing craft air cushion, and the Marine Corps’ new tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft. This aids the Marine Corps as they seek to complete their missions quicker and more efficiently.
New Orleans also houses two, high rate-of-fire 30 mm Close-in-Gun System mounts, with room for additional firepower upgrades. This will improve the ship’s security and security for other ships that may accompany her.
The ship is also fitted with a larger flight deck and increased vehicle lift capabilities, thus allowing the ship to operate under much more demanding circumstances.
In fighting the global war on terrorism, New Orleans’ cutting-edge technology and warfighting capabilities will be a huge asset to the U.S. 7th Fleet and all of its naval operations.
“We are really excited to see what she can do,” said Skillman. “And see how it can further support expeditionary strike groups.”