Navy's USS Anchorage to be commissioned here this year

TRANSPORT: Event will be held in the ship's namesake city.

Staff and wire reportsJanuary 9, 2012 

The USS Anchorage (LPD 23) had a christening ceremony May 14, 2011, at the Ingall's Shipbuilding Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, La.

PHOTO COURTESY U.S. NAVY

The USS Anchorage will be commissioned this year in Alaska's largest city.

Alaska's congressional delegation announced Monday that the Navy's San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship will commissioned in its namesake city in September or October.

Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, called each member of Alaska's delegation to deliver the news Monday. Members of the delegation had written him earlier requesting that the ship be commissioned in Anchorage.

The USS Anchorage is 684 feet long and will have a crew of 32 officers and 364 enlisted members, according to the Navy.

"This commissioning will give Alaskans from across the state a chance to come out and show the pride and respect we feel for having a Navy vessel bear the name of Alaska's largest city," Sen. Mark Begich said in a prepared statement.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski noted that Alaska hasn't had a year-round Navy presence since the closure of Adak Naval Air Station in the 1990s.

"We hope this is the first step in a more significant naval operation as the U.S. presence in the Arctic develops," she said.

The vessel was launched from the Avandale shipyard in New Orleans in February of last year.

The original USS Anchorage was launched in May 1966 and decommissioned in 2003. According to the Navy, the ship completed 19 deployments during its life, including deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

According to the Navy, it was sunk as a target during exercises off the coast of Hawaii in 2010.

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