SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit Anchorage (LPD 23) moored pierside for the first time at her homeport in San Diego during a homecoming ceremony Nov. 21.
The Navy's newest amphibious transport dock completed her maiden voyage from the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Shipbuilding site in Avondale, La. where she departed Oct. 30. The departure completed nearly six years of construction when fabrication kicked off in January 2007.
Fire Controlman 1st Class Michael Keller was among the first crew members to report to Anchorage while she was under construction, arriving in Avondale more than a year-and-a-half ago.
"The entire process was amazing to witness and be a part of," said Keller, who hails from San Diego. "When I got to Anchorage, she wasn't even painted. There were wires everywhere, scaffolds, and decks were bare metal. The relationship we built with both the shipbuilders and each other really brought this ship to life. I know as the first crew members, we'll be proud to leave behind a legacy that will endure throughout the entirety of Anchorage's history."
Anchorage's crew will spend the next few months working on certifications and completing installation of non-essential ship systems prior to sailing to her namesake Anchorage, Alaska where she will be commissioned in May.
"We are excited to be reunited with our families," said Capt. Brian J. Quin, Anchorage's commanding officer. "It's been a rewarding journey, but we're not done yet. We look forward to the next round of testing and our voyage to Alaska. The community in Anchorage has already welcomed us with open arms and we will work even harder to live up to the rich diversity and tradition present in the ship's namesake municipality."
Anchorage is the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. She was delivered to the U.S. Navy Sept. 17. The ship is the second ship to be named for the city.
For more information about Anchorage, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/lpd23/Pages/default.aspx or http://www.facebook.com/anchoragelpd23.
For more news from Expeditionary Strike Group 3, visit www.navy.mil/local/esg3/.