Backbone of Mobile Landing Platform 2 is Laid in San Diego

The following blog post was written by Sarah Burford, MSC Pacific Public Affairs following the keel laying for MLP-2 at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, Dec. 4. The Navy will name MLP-2 in honor of Sen. John Glenn, a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator. He was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space.  MLP-2 is the second of three MLP ships being built by NASSCO for MSC. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship’s sponsors, Lynn Glenn, daughter of the ship’s namesake, and Helen Tollan, wife of Lt. General John Tollan, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force, welded their initials into the keel plate. Following the ceremony, the steel plate with their initials was permanently affixed to the ship’s keel, remaining with the vessel through its time in service.


“This is an honor.  I never dreamed I’d have a ship like this named after me.  I look forward to being back here in a year for the christening.” Sen. John Glenn

  • USNS John Glenn is a seagoing pier for friendly forces in case accessibility to onshore bases are denied. Such flexibility would be useful following natural disasters and for supporting Marines once they are ashore.
  • John Glenn is a sea base, designed primarily to support three military hovercraft (such as the Landing Craft Air Cushion), vehicle staging with a sideport ramp and large mooring fenders. 
  • The MLP ship uses float-on/ float-off technology with a reconfigurable mission deck amid ships. The 784-foot-long MLP is designed to flood down to a semi-submerged profile to float vehicles and craft on and off its 164-foot-wide cargo deck.
  • The MLP is a new class of auxiliary support ship, scheduled to join MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF). These ships will be the centerpiece of the Navy’s “Sea Base” concept, and will serve as a transfer point for Marine Corps amphibious landing forces between large ships and small landing craft.
  • Potential future platform upgrades could enable the MLP to have more mission flexibility, including a vehicle transfer system, connected replenishment capability, a container handling crane and an aviation operating spot.

Mobile Landing Platform-2 ship sponsors Helen Tollan (left) and Lynn Glenn (right) weld their initials into the ship’s keel plate during a ceremony Dec. 4 at the General Dynamics NASSCO Ship Yard San Diego. MLP-2 will be officially named USNS John Glenn during a christening ceremony in 2014.

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