The US Navy will commission the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) during a 5 p.m. AST ceremony Thursday, August 17, at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain.
The future Lewis B. Puller - currently USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) - is the second ship to bear the name of Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, a distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War, MarineLink reported Thursday.
The Navy will re-designate its first Expeditionary Landing Base ship a warship this week, converting the Military Sealift Command ship USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) into USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) warship.
The commissioning will give combatant commanders greater operational flexibility on how they employ Lewis B. Puller in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.
Lewis B. Puller will be replacing Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce. As an AFSB (I), Ponce was able to stage people and equipment in support of multiple maritime missions in the 5th Fleet area of operations. Lewis B. Puller will serve as the first ship built specifically for the purpose of serving as an afloat expeditionary sea base.
As the security environment has become faster paced, more complex and increasingly competitive, the Navy has a growing need to station more diverse and capable warships around the globe. Redesignating USNS Lewis B. Puller as a commissioned warship will allow the Navy greater operational flexibility and provide critical support to TF 51/5's joint forces at sea, from the sea and ashore to meet potential threats in the 5th Fleet area of operations.