Navy Commissions Amphibious Transport Dock John P. Murtha

The Navy commissioned the amphibious transport dock ship John P. Murtha (LPD 26), on Saturday, Oct. 8, in a ceremony at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

The ship is named in honor of John P. Murtha, who served his country both as a Marine and in the halls of congress.

Murtha served in the Marine Corps for 37 years and saw service in the Korean War and in Vietnam, a tour that earned him the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

(Learn More, courtesy of the US Navy and YouTube)

Murtha represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 until his death in 2010.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi delivered the ceremony’s principal address.

Donna Murtha, daughter of the former congressman and the ship’s sponsor, gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” in accordance with naval tradition.

(See it in action, courtesy of the US Navy and YouTube)

“This ship honors a man who dedicated his entire adult life to service – service as a Marine and as a member of Congress,”said the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy.

Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy
Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy

“This dedication to service will live on in the USS John P. Murtha as it serves as a symbol of all Chairman Murtha believed in.”

“This ceremony also represents the dedication to service demonstrated by the men and women who have worked so diligently in building this ship and their efforts will help us to continue to grow the fleet to more than 300 ships by the end of this decade.”

Designated LPD 26, John P. Murtha is the tenth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class.

These versatile ships incorporate both a flight deck to accommodate CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as a well deck that can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles.

The San Antonio class’s increased vehicle space and substantial cargo carrying capacity make it a key element of 21st century amphibious ready groups, expeditionary strike groups, and joint task forces.

John P. Murtha will provide improved warfighting capabilities, including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift capability, in vehicle and cargo carrying capacity and advanced ship survivability features.

The ship is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 669 troops and a surge capacity of up to 800.

The ship will be crewed by 381 officers, enlisted personnel and Marines.

The 24,900-ton John P. Murtha was built at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, and a navigational draft of 23 feet. Four turbo-charged diesel engines power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots.

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For additional information about this class of ship, please visit the Navy Fact File at