The USS San Diego is the fourth US Navy ship to be named after the Navy town of San Diego, California. LPD-22 is capable of hauling two LCACs, plus a fully equipped Marine battalion and has a crew of 361 officers and enlisted personnel.
From Channel 10 in San Diego:
The amphibious transport dock USS San Diego was the first with the moniker of “America’s Finest City” to be stationed here. The ship bears Navy number LPD-22.
“With today’s ceremony, the Navy will commission the fourth ship to bear the name USS San Diego. From what I’ve been told, the ship being commissioned today is the most advanced amphibious ship in the world,” Mayor Jerry Sanders said. He said the city’s relationship with the Navy stretched back to 1921, when a Navy repair base was established.
Sanders presented the ship’s officers and the crew with the key to the city, “in honor of welcoming America’s finest ship to America’s Finest City.”
The commissioning ceremony is a naval tradition and historic event for a ship, marking the moment a new craft is placed in active service in the fleet.
Adm. Mark Ferguson, the vice chief of naval operations, said San Diego had been a great home to the United States Navy. He said expectations for the ship were high.
“The USS San Diego joins a Navy that has never been more in demand, never more needed and essential to ensure that our nation retains command of the seas,” Ferguson said.
The 684-foot long San Diego, the sixth ship in the San Antonio class, had its keel laid on May 23, 2007, at the Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. It was christened June 12, 2010, and delivered to the Navy Dec. 19, 2011.
The ship’s sponsor is Linda Winter, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter. She gave the command to “Man our ship and bring her to life.”
The San Antonio class ship is designed to carry landing craft, fighting vehicles, helicopters and personnel. The ships have more capacity than their predecessors and use “stealth” technology that includes the shape of the hull and its superstructure. It is being called the most advanced amphibious ship in the world.
“Look at the size of it!” said veteran George Horton. “How would you like to paint it? My God.”
Horton, 88, has seen the ships grow over the years. Horton joined the Navy in 1942 and served on an older USS San Diego during World War II, just after his 17th birthday.
“Oh, this ship is so magnificent,” Horton said through tears. “[I] waited 60 years for this.”
Horton’s heart seemed to swell with pride as he looked up at the new USS San Diego.
“I just want to see this go to sea and let them know that whenever they release the anchor or let the lines go that my shipmates and I are going with them,” Horton said. “They treat me like a member of the ship and it’s really touching.”
The San Diego’s Facebook page is here, and if you live there, you can cheer them on personally.