The Navy christened the USNS Montford Point, the first mobile landing platform in a series of three being built by General Dynamics NASSCO, at the shipyard in San Diego, Calif., March 2, adding new jobs for the membership of American Maritime Officers. Ocean
OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The U.S. Navy and Marines conducted a military exercise Friday to demonstrate the effectiveness of seabasing, a new concept that brings military response efforts to a new level. “Seabasing provides the ability to take a larger vessel down to sea level where we can rapidly deposit our troops, equipment or resources to a natural disaster or combat situation,” said Maj. Staci Reidinger of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
For the “Pacific Horizon” drill, the USNS Dahl was stationed about 16 nautical miles offshore from Oceanside. The ship responded to the fictitious nation of Acadia where two hurricanes struck and left the port city incapacitated. Three landing craft air cushions (LCACs) were busy loading and transporting supplies, equipment and personnel from the mobile landing platform to the USNS Montford Point. “The Montford Point is the first MLP,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Tague, one of the officers aboard.
He said the MLP is what makes seabasing possible. “We bring the two ships together by tethering the Montford Point to the Dahl,” Tague said. “Then we’re able to move supplies and equipment down a vehicle transfer ramp.” The cargo is then loaded onto the LCACs, which take it to shore.
“Sometimes we have larger ships that are not able to make it closer to shore,” Reidinger said. “These ships may be in hostile zones, or perhaps we don’t have an agreement with the local government to come ashore.” “With this system, we’re able to speed up the process offloading vehicles, personnel at a much faster pace,” Tague said.
Seabasing provides the ability to support up to 15,000 troops for as long as 45 days deployed in any environment. “We are self-contained and self-sufficient,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds of Expeditionary Strike Group III. “Coming from the sea, it allows our nation to do our mission right — at the right level, at the right location and at the right time,” said Brig. Gen. Joaquin Malavet of Expeditionary Strike Group III.
The Montford Point is the first of four MLPs commissioned.
Three others are being built, and two of the later ships will have the capability to provide air support. Once the evaluation process is complete, the Montford Point will be ready for deployment by spring of 2015.
SHIELD: Red and gold are the colors associated with the United States Marine Corps. The pile raguly has seven notches for the seven years that the first African-American recruits were trained at Montford Point (1942-1949) and is colored black to symbolize the determination of the recruits to serve their country. The eagle, globe and anchor emblem is the original design used during World War II. The three bendlets honor Gilbert “Hashmark” Johnson, an exceptional recruit who served in three services during his military career (Army, Navy, Marine Corps) and are colored gold to denote wisdom. The red shield represents the Montford Point Marine Association, a group established to perpetuate the legacy of the first African-Americans who entered the Marine Corps.
CREST: The USNS MONTFORD POINT will be a work horse at sea and is represented by a sea stallion. The shield hanging around his neck is colored black and red like the ship herself, and the white label denotes that this is the first ship in the MLP class. The label also represents MONTFORD POINT’s function as a “pier at sea.” The trident is a symbol of authority and mastery at sea and is colored silver to symbolize excellence.
MOTTO: Red is the color signifying strength and boldness, reflective of the motto, “STRENGTH SOLIDARITY SACRIFICE.”
SUPPORTERS: The crossed swords honor those enlisted Marines who trained at Montford Point. SEAL: The coat of arms as blazoned in full color on a white oval field within a dark blue designation band, edged gold chain border and bearing the name “USNS MONTFORD POINT” at top and “MLP 1” at base.
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