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Latest in LPD series headed for Navy delivery

August 22nd, 2008

Filed under: News — admin @ 1:01 pm

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By ALAN SAYRE, AP Posted: 2008-08-22 12:54:28

AVONDALE, La. (AP) – The fourth in a series of amphibious warships is about to be turned over to the Navy and for everyone associated with the LPD-20, there’s a sense of awe.

The Green Bay – it officially becomes the USS Green Bay when commissioned Jan. 24 at Long Beach, Calif. – is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy on Aug. 29 by the Northrop Grumman Corp. shipyard in this New Orleans suburb.Like its three sisters already in service – USS San Antonio, USS New Orleans and USS Mesa Verde – the 25,000-ton Green Bay is 684 feet long and 105 feet wide, suitable for a naval crew of 360 and 800 Marines. It can carry landing vessels and helicopters to deliver the Marines to shore.

The vessel, which cost more than $1 billion, recently completed sea trials successfully.”I love it,” said Northrop Grumman electrician Susie Davis, one of the company workers who went on the sailing trials. “To actually see it all come to a conclusion is breathtaking. It makes me want to join the military.”The Green Bay is the final project for electrician Gerald Dufrene, who will retire in September.”I’m going out with a bang,” he said.The vessel will be around Avondale a while after the Navy takes delivery.

Naval inspectors must certify the crew as ready to handle the vessel and will put them through a series of drills. If all goes well, the process should wrap up by November and the Green Bay will head to California.Cmdr. Joe Olson, the Green Bay’s prospective captain, will have his first command after 17 years in the Navy.”Every ship I’ve served on has been great,” said Olson, a native of Madison, Wis. “But this is a fantastic opportunity. I’m very excited.”The Green Bay is the second Navy vessel to carry the name. The first was a patrol gunboat commissioned in the 1960s.The fifth ship in the LPD series – the New York – was christened on March 1 at Avondale and is in the final stages of construction.

The San Diego is being built at Northrop Grumman’s yard in Pascagoula, Miss., while the seventh ship, the Anchorage, also is being built at Avondale.Initial work is under way on the eighth and ninth ships – the Arlington at Pascagoula and the Somerset at Avondale.Funding for a 10th LPD is pending before Congress. A House committee has earmarked $1.8 billion in full funding, while a Senate committee has signed off on $170 million, which when combined with other funds, would provide $323 million in pre-construction expenses. A conference committee will decide on funding for the next federal budget later this year.The Pascagoula yard has 11,500 employees, while 5,500 work at Avondale. Northrop Grumman also has 200 workers at its Gulfport, Miss., yard and 120 at a yard in Tallulah, La.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

08/22/08 12:50 EDT

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The future USS New York LPD-21 under construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ shipyard in Avondale, LA, will be the fifth amphibious transport dock of the San Antonio class. The ship was named New York after the state and incorporates in its construction steel salvaged from the World Trade Centers. Her ship motto is "Never Forget." "We're very proud that the twisted steel from the WTC towers will soon be used to forge an even stronger national defense," New York Gov. George Pataki spoke in 2002. "The USS New York will soon be defending freedom and combating terrorism around the globe, while also ensuring that the world never forgets the evil attacks of Sept. 11 and the courage and strength New Yorkers showed.” This will be the seventh U.S. ship named New York.

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