USNS Lewis B. Puller Hosts 60 Navy Reservists as Part of Surface Warfare Warrior Weekend

Military Sealift Command’s first Forward Afloat Staging Base, USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3), played host to 60 Navy Reserve officers from across the United States, July 24. The group was in San Diego participating in the Surface Warfare Warrior Weekend Event. Coordinated by Commander Navy Surface Forces Atlantic and Commander Navy Surface Forces Pacific, the weekend events provided Reserve Surface Warfare Officers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Navy’s newest technologies.

Over a three day period, the officers toured several Navy sea and aviation platforms and facilities in the San Diego area.   In addition to Puller, the group’s visits included USS Somerset (LPD 25), USS Sampson (DDG 10), USS Bunker Hill (CG 15), USS Freedom(LCS 1), and aviation familiarization at Naval Air Station North Island. While onboard Puller, the group was able to see firsthand, the capabilities of the AFSB platform. The tour included the maindeck, flight deck as well as the berthing and work spaces embarked military members would use during a mission.   The tour was led by Capt. Jonathan Olmsted, Puller’s civil service master, and Thanh Carr, MSC’s representative at the NASSCO Shipyard.

“We’re always grateful for the chance to bring people out and show them what we are doing here at NASSCO,” explained Carr. “The MLP program is exciting for MSC, because it shows that we are moving into the future right alongside the Navy warfighter.”

Capt. Jonathan Olmsted, master, USNS Lewis B. Puller (center left) and Thanh Carr, MSC’s representative at the NASSCO Shipyard (center right), explain the complexities of the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) to Rear Adm. Kelvin Dixon, deputy commander COMNAVSURFLANT during a tour of USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3) during the Part of Surface Warfare Warrior Weekend in San Diego.

 

“This was a great opportunity,” said Rear Adm. Kelvin Dixon, deputy commander COMNAVSURFLANT, a member of the tour group. “Being able to walk the decks and see this ship up close and personal gives you a better understanding and appreciation of the mission’s it’s capable of doing for the Navy. To read reports and plans on a ship like this, and then to see it up close, is really impressive.”

Puller is the third Mobile Landing Platform ship and the first purpose-built afloat forward staging base (AFSB) vessel. Unlike the first two MLPs; USNS Montford Point and USNS John Glenn, that facilitate the seabasing of an amphibious landing force by acting as a floating base or transfer station that can be prepositioned off the target area, Puller will serve as an afloat forward staging base supporting special forces missions, counter piracy/smuggling operations, maritime security operations, and mine clearance, as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

Puller operates under the control of MSC. MSC operates approximately 110 non-combatant, merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

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