‘Saipan is 1st base of operations for latest Navy warship’


SAN DIEGO—The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base USS Miguel Keith sits pierside during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. (U.S. NAVY/MCS2 KEVIN C. LEITNER)

USS Miguel Keith, the U.S. Navy’s latest Expeditionary Sea Base ship that was commissioned in San Diego Saturday, will be based out on Saipan, according to news reports in the U.S. mainland.

Quoting the U.S. Navy, reports said the 785-foot warship’s first base of operations will be on Saipan. It is named after Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith and is the first ship to bear the name.

Commissioning of a Navy vessel refers to placing the ship in active service.

When asked about the news, Glenna Sakisat Palacios, special assistant to the governor for Military Affairs, Commonwealth Bureau of Military Affairs, said yesterday that they were informed that the Navy’s commissioning of USS Miguel Keith took place last May 8 at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, California.

“According to information provided to our office, USS Miguel Keith will be part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force operating from Saipan to provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of humanitarian and military operations,” Palacios said.

Capt. Troy A Fendrick, commanding officer of the USS Miguel Keith, speaks during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. (U.S. NAVY/MCS2 KEVIN C. LEITNER)

She said she has no information as to when the ship is arriving here.

The reports said USS Miguel Keith was built in San Diego and was delivered to the Navy on Nov. 15, 2019.

The Navy reportedly previously planned for the ESBs to be Military Sealift Command ships, but in early 2020s the Navy announced it would commission all ESBs as warships.

The reports identified USS Miguel Keith’s commanding officer as Capt. Troy A. Fendrick, who leads a crew of about 100 military officers and crew, alongside 44 Military Sealift Civil Service Mariners.

The USS Miguel Keith is the Navy’s third purpose-built ESB. While originally created to operate as a support ship under Military Sealift Command, USS Miguel Keith has been commissioned to provide greater mission flexibility in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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