News: Lt. Gen. Mills, family forever engraved on MLP-1
Story by Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
SAN DIEGO - General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a keel laying ceremony for the first mobile landing platform ship at its shipyard in San Diego, Jan. 19.
Ceremony honoree Pat Mills, wife of Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration, received the privilege of welding her initials into a steel plate to be permanently attached to the ship.
“I feel today that I am really a part of history because of the contribution this made to our nation’s security and future,” Mrs. Mills said. “I know this ship, as the maritime prepositioning shipping program, will make a vital contribution to our Naval forces for many, many years to come.”
Lt. Gen. Mills also expressed his gratitude and his many hopes for the utility and resourcefulness the ship will provide during rapid response crisis and military operations.
The ship is more than steel, it is a physical symbol of presence and help to people in need, he said.
The keel lay ceremony is in the wake of the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday, celebrated Jan. 16. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced, Jan. 4, the approximately 765-foot long ship is to be named USNS Montford Point in homage of the 20,000 African Americans who were trained at the North Carolina facility in the 1940’s. USNS Montford Point is the first of three ships to be named in recognition of American pioneers and used to engage international counterparts.
“As I drove around the shipyard this morning, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the process, skill and the workers that I saw,” Lt. Gen. Mills said. “Instead of just seeing steel in the process of being put together into a fantastic ship, what I saw was capability.”
Upon completion, MLP-1 is slated to integrate with the Maritime Prepositioning Force mission to facilitate selective offload of prepositioned equipment and military personnel during high availability disaster recovery, theater security cooperation and major combat operations.