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John P. Murtha Ship Delivered to Navy

The amphibious transport dock ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John P. Murtha (LPD 26) is launched from the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)
The amphibious transport dock ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John P. Murtha (LPD 26) is launched from the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)

The Pre-Commissioning Unit John P. Murtha has been delivered to the Navy.

Huntington Ingalls Industries built the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock that is named after the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a Cambria County resident who became the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania history, shortly before his death in February 2010.

"John P. Murtha is the culmination of four years of tireless efforts on the part of thousands of our shipyard employees and our Navy partner," said Richard Schenk, Ingalls' vice president of program management, in a press release.

"I couldn't be more proud of all of those involved, and they are showing that serial production pays dividends when it comes to providing affordable ships to our nation."

Murtha, a member of the Marine Corps, served in the Vietnam War, earning two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He then became the first Vietnam veteran elected to the House and eventually served as the powerful chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

"It's a tremendous honor to have a ship named after you," said Murtha's chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Col. John Hugya. "I'm so pleased the secretary of the Navy made it happen."

The 684-foot-long ship, which is currently under the command of Capt. Kevin Parker, will be used to embark and land Marines, equipment and supplies ashore via helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, such as MV-22 Osprey; conventional landing craft; and amphibious assault vehicles.

It will regularly carry 699 troops with a surge capacity to 800.

The John P. Murtha is scheduled to be commissioned this fall in Philadelphia and then go to its home port of San Diego.

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