USS Murtha returns to San Diego in time for Thanksgiving - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

USS Murtha returns to San Diego in time for Thanksgiving

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The new amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha arrived Friday in San Diego, its first home port.

The 684-foot-long ship is named after a Pennsylvania congressman and Marine veteran who died in 2010. The naming sparked some debate, since Murtha was a harsh critic of the Iraq War, and because Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus defied a convention of naming ships in the class after cities.

Sea trials were completed successfully this summer in the Gulf of Mexico, after which the Murtha began the voyage to San Diego. Along the way, the sailors conducted equipment checks, system tests, crew certification and countless hours of training.

"During our sail around up and down the East Coast and through the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, they have executed every assigned engagement and tasking with professionalism and precision," said Capt. Kevin Parker, the commanding officer. "They truly exemplify the `make a difference' attitude that our ship's motto demands, and I have full confidence that this ship and her crew are ready for whatever is asked of us."

The Murtha is the 10th amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class, which have a flight deck to accommodate U.S. Marine Corps helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, plus a well deck for launching and recovering landing craft and amphibious vehicles.

The ship, commissioned at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia last month, will normally carry around 700 Marines but can boost that number by 100, if necessary.

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