Shipyard workers at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' (NGSS) Avondale Operations laid the keel for the future USS Anchorage (LPD 23) during a brief ceremony Sept. 24 at the shipyard in the New Orleans area. Anchorage is the seventh ship of the San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships to begin construction.
The future USS Anchorage will play a vital role in Navy and Marine Corps expeditionary warfare by embarking, transporting and landing elements of an assault landing force by helicopters, vertical take-off and landing aircraft, air cushion landing craft and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles. In 2004, then-Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England named LPD 23 in honor of the city of Anchorage, Alaska. This is the second U.S. Navy and second amphibious ship to be named for the Alaskan city.
The first USS Anchorage (LSD-36) was commissioned in 1969, earning the Meritorious Unit Commendation and six battle stars for Vietnam service, receiving the Navy Unit Citation and the South West Asia Service Medal (2 stars) for Operation Desert Storm and supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. When decommissioned in 2003, the first USS Anchorage was the most decorated dock landing ship on the West Coast.
Two of Anchorage’s sister ships, USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18), have been commissioned and are operating from their homeports of Norfolk and San Diego, respectively. The future USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) will be the next LPD commissioned and will be followed by Green Bay (LPD 20), New York (LPD 21), and San Diego (LPD 22) all of which are currently under construction. The future USS Anchorage is expected to be commissioned in 2011.