USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5)
USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5)

US Navy to Commission Expeditionary Mobile Base USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5)

The U.S. Navy will commission its newest expeditionary mobile base, the future USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5), during a 10:00 a.m. PST ceremony Saturday, May 8, at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, Calif. Due to public health and safety concerns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the commissioning ceremony is private with a limited audience. The ship, named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, was built in San Diego by General Dynamics NASSCO and was delivered to the Navy on Nov. 15, 2019.

Adm. Craig Faller, commander, U.S. Southern Command, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal remarks. Mrs. Eliadora Delores Keith, Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith’s mother, is the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Eliadora Keith gives the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”. Capt. Troy A. Fendrick, a native of Tempe, Arizona, is the ship’s commanding officer and leads a crew of roughly 100 military officers and crew, alongside 44 Military Sealift Civil Service Mariners.

Adm. Craig S. Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, speaks during the commissioning ceremony for the Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5). (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Leitner/U.S. Navy)

USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) (formerly USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5)) is a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base, currently in service with the United States Navy (USN). The ship is 785 feet in length, has a beam of 164 feet, and a navigational draft of approximately 39 feet. These vessels are highly flexible platforms that provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations. The ESB is designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging area, and command and control.

USS Miguel Keith will be part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force operating from Saipan. Miguel Keith was originally a non-commissioned ship, with a USNS prefix but, like her sister ships, she was commissioned by the U.S. Navy, in order to provide combatant commanders greater operational flexibility in utilizing the ESBs in accordance with the laws of armed conflict. The Lewis B. Puller-class, or sub-variant, of Expeditionary Mobile Base (ESB) vessels are slated to operate in the Middle East and the Pacific Ocean.

The crew of the Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) prepare to board the ship during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. Miguel Keith is the Navy’s third purpose-built expeditionary sea base (ESB). (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Leitner/U.S. Navy)