Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ships: USS Anchorage

As the Brethren are aware, Triple P rarely dwells on the modern aspects of ships and shipping. There is so much rich history to be explored that it would be a maddening preoccupation to try to keep up with modern navies around the world, especially since none of the big ones are privateering anymore. Once in a while, though, a story of our times will catch my eye and I want to share it with you all. In today’s case, the story merges where I currently live, my ancestral home, and my family’s naval lineage. Now that’s worth investigating!

In May of last year the San Antonio-class amphibious transport U.S. Navy vessel Anchorage was launched at Ingall’s Shipbuilding Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, Louisiana where she was built. Christened for the largest city in the state of Alaska, she is the second United States Ship to bare the name. The original was launched in 1966 and decommissioned in 2003 after 19 deployments including service in Operation Enduring Freedom.

The new ship, no doubt due to her name, caught the attention of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (to whom I owe thanks for the use of the photo at the header). The Senator wisely saw an opportunity to welcome the Navy, absent in our state since the closing of the Adak Naval Air Station in the ‘90s, back to Alaska. She wrote to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and, as Alaska Business Monthly online puts it, “encourag[ed] him to have the Navy commission USS Anchorage… in Anchorage once it completes its sea trials." From Senator Murkowski’s letter:

Alaskan hospitality is legendary. It is well known through the Armed Forces that no people support our men and women in uniform more enthusiastically than the people of Alaska. … the commissioning ceremony presents the Navy with an important opportunity to reintroduce itself to the people of Alaska. … we remain hopeful that we will be able to welcome the Navy back to Alaska as the U.S. presence in the Arctic develops.

On January 9, Senator Murkowski and her counterpart, Senator Mark Begich, announced that USS Anchorage will be commissioned in its namesake city. The ship is set to arrived in early fall with the commissioning to take place in September or October.

For me, this event is a wonderful full circle of serendipity. From New Orleans to Anchorage comes the ship, via a very round about course no doubt, just like me. She comes all the way from a place that embraces its seafaring history and military presence to another that does the same. It’s thrilling to imagine; I can’t wait to see her in all her glory right here in her adoptive hometown. Thanks go out to the First Mate, by the way, for the ahoy on this story; and if this post seems vaguely self-indulgent, perhaps it is. Yesterday’s was Triple P’s 800th post, and that seems worth a bit of indulgence to me.

For more information on Avondale Shipyard, recently purchased by Ingall’s Shipbuilding, click here.

Header: USS Anchorage via Alaska Business Monthly


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! And huzzah for the USS Anchorage (and for our Senator's support of the Navy)!

Glad I could be of service in bringing this one your way...

Finally, huzzah to you for post #801 (and counting)!

Pauline said...

Always supporting our service people near and far is a good rule of thumb.

And thankee indeed; how did we get to 801 after all?