USMMA Cadets Serve on Navy's first Afloat Forward Staging Base
KINGS POINT, N.Y., August 14, 2015 – Three U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Cadets are sailing on the Navy's first Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) variant of the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP).
As part of their Sea Year, Deck Cadet Leighton-Joshua Flores, Engine Cadet Patricia Ormond and Engine Cadet Brandy Richter have the unique opportunity to serve on the USNS Lewis B. Puller. This unique AFSB vessel is optimized to support a variety of maritime-based missions with an added flight deck, berthing, fuel storage, equipment storage, and repair spaces.
"This ship represents a leap forward in flexible capability for the U.S. Navy," said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. MLPs are highly flexible platforms that provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations. The AFSB variant is designed around four core capabilities: aviation, berthing, equipment staging area, and command and control.
The MLP AFSB will primarily support Aviation Mine Countermeasure and Special Operations missions. Additional features include a large flight deck and hangar with two aviation operating spots capable of handling MH-53E equivalent helicopters; berthing and messing accommodations; work spaces and ordnance storage for embarked forces; enhanced command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) to support embarked force mission planning; and execution and reconfigurable mission deck area to store embarked force equipment to include mine sleds and rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).
The Academy’s Sea Year program affords midshipmen the opportunity to acquire hands-on, real-world experiences aboard U.S. flag-bearing merchant vessels sailing to ports around the world for parts of their sophomore and junior years.