The U.S. Navy plans to commission its first purpose-built expeditionary sea base at a ceremony that will take place at the Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain, on Thursday.
USNS Lewis B. Puller is built to replace interim afloat forward staging base USS Ponce and will be commanded by Navy Capt. Adan Cruz, the Defense Department said Wednesday.
General Dynamics‘ NASSCO subsidiary turned over the vessel to the service branch in June 2015 after the shipbuilder incorporated repair spaces, a flight deck, equipment, fuel storage and additional spaces for up to 250 service members.
T-ESB 3 will be the second ship to bear the name of Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell Puller, who served in the military during World War II and the Korean War and received the Navy Cross on five separate occasions throughout his career with the U.S. Marine Corps.
DoD noted the floating base will help increase the service branch’s operational flexibility and support TF 51/5’s joint forces in efforts to mitigate potential threats within the 5th Fleet area of operations.