21 Aug 2017

First-of-Class Expeditionary Sea Base USS Lewis B. Puller Commissioned

The United States Navy has commissioned the Expeditionary Sea Base, USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) during a ceremony at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain

This is the first US ship to be commissioned outside of the United States and further enhances the Navy’s capability to meet regional challenges. Puller’s crew will total almost 150 personnel who will support a wide variety of missions including counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and crisis response operations.

Vice Admiral Donegan, Commander of Naval Forces Central Command said: “The Puller isn’t just another ship, but a revolutionary concept; a ship that provides us a key platform that will provide continuity to a variety of operations,” he continued saying, “Named after the most decorated Marine in American history, the USS Lewis B. Puller will provide greater operational flexibility to 5th Fleet, forward-deployed as the first ship built specifically for the purpose of serving as an expeditionary sea base. As such, it will augment our amphibious forces, not replace them, mine countermeasure forces and provide an expeditionary sea base for maritime security operations throughout the region.

“As the security environment becomes faster paced, more complex and increasingly competitive, with the ever-growing and evolving challenge of asymmetric threats from state and non-state actors alike, the Navy has a growing need to station more diverse and capable warships around the globe. Commissioning this expeditionary sea base, the USS Lewis B. Puller, will allow the Navy and Marine Corps team to meet the threats in the region head on.”

The Puller is named after Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine in the history of the US Marine Corps. He was awarded five Navy Crosses and fought in Haiti and Nicaragua, as well as several key battles in World War II and the Korean War.

“For the most part, [Puller] spent much of his time in the Pacific,” said Lt. Gen. Dave Beydler, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command. “Why was he there? Because that is where the fight was … I would argue that if he lived in our era, he would have spent a majority of his time in this region, the CENTCOM [area of responsibility]. I’m glad to have Chesty Puller back where the fight is.”

Capt. Adan G. Cruz is the USS Puller’s first commanding officer. Per naval tradition, Cruz read his orders before addressing those in attendance: “It is really an honour to be part of a team and part of a crew with great Sailors and great civilian mariners.”

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