JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) honored the legacy of the late U.S. Representative John Murtha by declaring April 23 that the Navy's 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, LPD 26, will bear his name.
The announcement was made at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County airport in Johnstown, Pa., a town Murtha held close to his heart.
SECNAV Ray Mabus was accompanied by Joyce and Donna Murtha, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative Norm Dicks of Washington and U.S. Representative David Obey of Wisconsin.
"John Patrick Murtha served our country his entire adult life," said Mabus. "Both in uniform as a Marine and in the halls of Congress, he dedicated himself to the United States of America."
Murtha's service began when he joined the Marine Corps in 1952 and served in the Korean War. He also saw service in Vietnam in 1966, a tour that earned him the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Murtha retired from military service as a colonel in 1990. He had 37 years of active and Reserve service.
Murtha represented Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District from 1974 until his death in 2010. In his position as the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, he oversaw appropriations for the Department of Defense, which included the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and the intelligence community. He was a driving force for the Navy's shipbuilding program, providing necessary funds to grow and maintain the fleet and preserve the industrial base.
"Throughout his time in Congress, Jack Murtha remained a Marine. He always did what he thought best for our country and he championed the interests of service men and women." said Mabus.
The future USS John P. Murtha will transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies and will support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions for a projected 30 years.
"She will serve as a visible symbol of the freedoms Chairman Murtha held dear, and his example will live on in the steel of that ship and in all those who will serve aboard her." said Mabus.
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