ANCHORAGE, Alaska—The USS Anchorage will be commissioned in Anchorage next September or October, according to a joint statement Monday from Alaska’s congressional delegation.
Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, as well as Rep. Don Young, all wrote Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in November asking that the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship be commissioned in its namesake port. Last week Murkowski said she received a favorable reply from Mabus’s office, but the decision hasn’t been formally announced until now.
“Alaskans are among the strongest supporters of the U.S. military and have a long tradition of building relationships and supporting our active duty members and veterans,” Begich said. “This commissioning will give Alaskans from across the state a chance to come out and show the pride and respect we feel for having a Navy vessel bear the name of Alaska’s largest city.”
“Secretary Mabus’ phone call today was welcome news for Alaska’s military community and the civilian neighbors who support them,” Murkowski said. “Alaska has missed the Navy’s year-round presence since the closure of the Adak station almost 15 years ago, so we hope this is the first step in a more significant naval operation as the U.S. presence in the Arctic develops.”
“This is good news not only for the city of Anchorage, but for all Alaskans,” Young said. “Whether it’s the thousands of active-duty men and women that call our state home or the crucial role we play in defending this nation, Alaskans know and are proud of the unique bond we have with the military.”
In the letter to Murkowski, Mabus’s office raised one concern: the importance of commissioning the ship before the arrival of “adverse seasonal weather conditions.”
The Anchorage is the second Navy ship to be named after the city. It is designed to transport troops for amphibious operations, deploying them either by helicopters launched off its flight deck or landing craft launched from a well deck that opens to the sea.