A naval officer provides an update on the construction of the USS Harrisburg
One of the US Navy’s newest ships with ties to the Pennsylvania capital is set to be christened in 2024.
Rear Admiral Thomas Anderson visited the State Capitol on Monday to provide an update on the construction of the $2 billion amphibious transport dock that will be named USS Harrisburg.
He said the christening, which corresponds to the launch of the ship, is scheduled for 2024 with its commissioning in 2025.
“As namesake city, you will play an important role in the life of this ship and the sailors who serve on it,” Anderson said at a news conference at the Rotunda surrounded by state lawmakers. Anderson is responsible for U.S. Navy shipbuilding for surface combatants, amphibious vessels, logistics support vessels, support vessels and related foreign military sales.
The ship, which House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Karen Boback of R-Luzerne County described as a modern version of those that landed on Normandy beaches during World War II world, is currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi.
It will be nearly 700 feet long, weigh more than 25,000 tons and carry more than 1,000 sailors and Marines, Anderson said. It will have a flight deck and hangar to accommodate a variety of Osprey helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft.
The ship will be able to support amphibious assaults, special operations, expeditionary warfare or disaster relief missions, either independently or in groups.
“She’s going to be a really awesome ship,” he said.
It is the second ship to bear the name USS Harrisburg. The original was purchased from a private shipping company to transport troops and supplies between Europe and America during World War I before being scrapped in 1923.
That this latest ship is named for the capital is recognition of the central role it plays in national defense as well as its residents serving in the military, Anderson said.
There are currently 12,000 active and reserve Pennsylvania Sailors helping to help the Navy be present in protecting the trade routes of goods and data vital to the global economy and our way of life.
He said Russia and China are trying to move America on the world stage, so “in times like these, we’re blessed that men and women from places like Harrisburg are stepping forward to stay. on the prowl and protect our freedoms at home and abroad.”
Building ships like the USS Harrisburg with its cutting-edge capabilities will help the nation’s military stay abreast of the threats posed by these other nations, he said.
D-Lawrence County Rep. Chris Sainato said having one of the Navy’s newest ships named after the state capital “is such a great tribute to the men and to the women of Pennsylvania who have served in our armed forces and to have a ship named after them and that, from what I understand, is going to be cutting edge technology to bring the best that we can do for our men and women who serve us.
Anderson said the USS Harrisburg is a continuation of the Navy’s recognition of Pennsylvania’s contributions to this branch of the military. Besides the USS Harrisburg, other namesake ships from Pennsylvania are the USS Somerset, USS John P. Murtha, and the future USS Pittsburgh as well as a submarine.
“As the capital of the Commonwealth, Harrisburg has shown strength and resilience, so it’s fitting that your ship joins a class of ships with a legacy of true resilience and sacrifice,” Anderson said.
He shared that while in the region, he intended to visit local vendors to thank them for keeping the Navy functioning globally at a critical time.
“Pennsylvania is clearly a significant contributor to the success of our Navy,” he said.
Jan Murphy can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @JanMurphy.