The U.S. Navy’s largest shipbuilder, Huntington Ingalls, has announced authenticated the keel of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29).
On 12 April, ship’s Co-sponsors Shana McCool and Kate Oja declared the keel to be “truly and fairly laid.”
“The ships in the San Antonio-class are designed to land Marines anywhere in the world in support of a wide range of military operations–from power projection to threat mitigation to humanitarian aid. They are truly remarkable ships and ones we are proud to build,” said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ vice president of program management. “LPD 29 is the 13th San Antonio-class ship under construction at Ingalls. Like the ship’s hero namesake, Richard M. McCool Jr., LPD 29 will be strong and capable. Our men and women in the Navy and Marine Corps deserve nothing less.”
“Thank you for having us here today and allowing us to say few words about our grandfather. My grandfather was very humble and one of the most caring men you could ever hope to meet. He never showed off. When asked about the war, he just said, ‘I did my job, and I did what any other person would do.’ My cousins and I grew up seeing pictures on the wall of the Medal of Honor from President Truman, pictures of his ship, but to us he was always just grandpa.” Shana McCool, LPD 29 Ship’s Co-Sponsor.
LPD 29 is the first U.S. Navy ship named in honor of Richard M. McCool Jr., who received the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” as commanding officer of infantry landing support craft during the Battle of Okinawa.
The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey.
The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.