The Navy will
commission the USS New Orleans, the newest amphibious transport dock ship, at a ceremony in New Orleans on March 10.
Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana will
deliver the ceremony’s principal address. The ship’s sponsor is Carolyn Shelton
, wife of Gen. Henry H. Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
New Orleans honors the largest city of Louisiana and one of the world’s three largest seaports. In the past century, three naval ships have carried the name New Orleans: a protected cruiser, eventually designated CL-22, which served from 1898-1905 and 1909-1922; a cruiser designated CA-32, which served from 1934-1947; and an amphibious assault ship designated LPH-11, which served from 1968 -1997.
Designated LPD-18, New Orleans is the second ship in the Navy’s new San Antonio class. As a critical element in future expeditionary strike groups, the ship will support the Marine Corps mobility triad, which consists of the LCAC (landing craft air cushion), the expeditionary fighting vehicle, and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). The ship also provides improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capacity in vehicle and cargo-carrying capability and advanced ship-survivability features.
Cmdr. John B. “Brad” Skillman, of St. Paris, Ohio, is the first commanding officer of the ship. The ship has a crew of 360 and can embark a landing force of about 800 Marines. Built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale Operations in New Orleans, the ship is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet and displaces about 24,900 tons. Four turbo-charged diesels power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots. The ship will be homeported in San Diego.
Special release from the U.S. Department of Defense