General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a keel laying ceremony for the second Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ship Wednesday in San Diego.
Lyn Glenn, daughter of John Herschel Glenn Jr., the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, and Helen L. Toolan, wife of Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr., commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, were the honorees for the ceremony.
Glenn and Toolan validated the MLP ship's keel by welding their initials onto a steel plate, which will be permanently affixed to the ship's keel, remaining with the vessel throughout its time in service.
Delivery of the second MLP ship is scheduled for first quarter 2014. This second MLP ship will be named John Glenn in honor of the former U.S. Marine Corps pilot, astronaut and U.S. senator. Along with being the first American to orbit the Earth, Glenn was the third American in space.
The MLP is a flexible platform that will provide capability for large scale logistics movements such as the transfer of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore. It will significantly reduce dependency on foreign ports and provide support in the absence of any port, making it especially useful during disaster response and for supporting Marines once they are ashore. The MLP in its basic form possesses a core capability set that supports a vehicle staging area, sideport ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three landing craft air cushioned vessel (LCAC) lanes.