The Navy commissioned the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious war ship into the Fleet in a snowy Saturday ceremony in Alaska.
The 26,000 ton USS Anchorage (LPD-23) is the latest in the line of dock landing platform ships to enter the Fleet and one of 11 planned warships designed to ferry 720 Marines and their aircraft and landing craft around the world.
The ships, built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., replace the 1960s era Austin-class LPDs. The sole remaining Austin-class LPD, USS Ponce, has been converted into a so-called Afloat Forward Staging Base and is assigned to support special operations and mine countermeasure missions in the Middle East.
The San Antonio-class has had a troubled construction and deployment history but in testimony this year before Congress Navy and Marine leaders have said past problems have been corrected.
The future of the class may extend beyond the 11 planned ships. In March, Congress included $240 million for an 12th ship in the class, however the Navy has not made plans to purchase additional hulls.
Following the ceremony, the ship will transit back to its homeport at Naval Station San Diego, Calif. to conduct a final set of trials.