America's Navy will commission the newest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, Arlington, Saturday, April 6, at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
"This ship and her proud name symbolize what is exceptional about the United States," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "For the next several decades, Arlington will take Marines and their equipment wherever they are needed, whether to provide humanitarian assistance or lethal combat capability." Mabus continued, "But more important, Arlington will carry with her the legacy of valor exhibited by Marines throughout the Corps' history and shown by those who lost their lives on American Airlines Flight 77."
The ship is named for the county of Arlington in Virginia. Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, is serving as the ship's sponsor. Arlington honors both the first responders, and the 184 victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Two previous ships have carried the name Arlington. The first was a steel-hulled C1-B type cargo ship operating during World War II. The second USS Arlington was a 14,500-ton Vietnam War era, major communications relay ship.
Designated LPD 24, Arlington is the eighth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class. As an element of future expeditionary strike groups, the ship will support the Marine Corps "mobility triad," which consists of the landing craft air cushion vehicle, amphibious vehicles and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. The ship can embark a landing force of up to 800 Marines.
Commander Darren W. Nelson, of Rushville, Nebraska, commands a crew of 360 officers, enlisted
Navy personnel and three Marines. The 24,900-ton ship is 684 feet in
length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, and a navigational draft of 23