US Navy’s first expeditionary sea base USNS Lewis B. Puller starts deployment

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3), the U.S. Navy’s first purpose-built expeditionary sea base equipped to support special operations forces, deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3), deployed on July 10 from Naval Station Norfolk after completing its initial operational testing and evaluation.

Commissioned into the fleet in 2015, the 784ft.-long (238 m) vessel features a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces.

Able to accommodate up to 250 personnel, USNS Lewis B. Puller will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and crisis response operations.

The ship recently completed its post shakedown availability during which it received an upgrade enabling special operations forces (SOF) to utilize the ship for operations. With this upgrade, the ship is capable of supporting maritime interdictions, operations potentially in-country, and different adaptive military packages to perform different types of SOF contingencies.

USNS Lewis B. Puller will be permanently deployed in U.S. Naval Forces Central/U.S. 5th Fleet.