New Navy ship honors Marine legend - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New Navy ship honors Marine legend

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The USNS Lewis B. Puller is the first mobile landing platform or MLP that has a forward staging base variant. It's unique in nature in that both civilian crews and the Navy will be on board.

Stretching 785 feet long and 164 feet wide, the USNS Lewis B Puller is a sight that can't be missed.

"It's an honor to be made after probably the most famous general in Marine Corp History," said, Capt. Brain Mershon, Lewis B. Puller.

It is named after Chesty Puller, the only Marine to receive the Navy Cross Five times.

This ship lives up to its title.

"The mission of this ship is anti mine warfare and so it's considered a first in class," said Capt. Mershon.

Going up each flight off stairs, an inside look at this MLP is amazing.

Its flight deck is designed to carry some of the largest helicopters in the Navy.

"It's kind of the extension of what ships have been doing for decades, and this is just the next step," said Ray Franklin, Military Sealift Command Pacific.

The ship is run by the U.S. Navy's military Sealift command. Its highly flexible platforms provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations.

"The special technology is the main focus here and it's a great integration between military Sealift command and the civilian crew," said Franklin.

Up to 298 can be on board, but it's a tight knit crew of civilians running this vessel.

"This whole huge ship runs day to day with just 34 people. It is just incredible if you think about it the same size ship in the Navy would have two, three, maybe 400 people on board," said Franklin.

The ship will leave from the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego on Wednesday.

It'll take 60-days to get to Virginia, but the ship has to go through Mexico, then Chile and Brazil because its too big to fit through the Panama Canal.

The ship was built here in San Diego at NAASCO in about a year.

Once the ship is fully operational, it could most likely be assigned to the Persian Gulf.

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