Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Floating base named for legendary Marine arrives in fleet

Floating base named for legendary Marine arrives in fleet: The newest vessel in the Corps' amphibious arsenal carries the name of its most iconic Marine — and it is ready for action.

The first Afloat Forward Staging Base — the Lewis B. Puller — was delivered to the Navy in San Diego on June 12. The staging base is a variant of the Mobile Landing Platform, a state-of-the-art amphibious platform designed to act as a floating helicopter pad and special forces base.

The AFSB lacks the survivability of its namesake, or an amphibious assault ship, for that matter. But berthing for 250 troops, flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, and repair spaces make the AFSB a key asset for special purpose Marine air-ground task forces and special operations units. The AFSB's hangar has two aviation operating spots capable of handling MH-53E or equivalent helicopters. Its reconfigurable mission deck area can store embarked force equipment to include mine sleds and rigid-hull inflatable boats.