NASSCO christens US Navy’s expeditionary sea base USNS John L. Canley

American shipbuilding company General Dynamics NASSCO has christened the USNS John L. Canley (ESB 6), the fourth ship for the US Navy’s reclassified Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.


As informed, the christening ceremony took place on 25 June.


In 2020, Former Secretary of the Navy, Kenneth J. Braithwaite, declared that the fourth ship in the ESB program will be named after Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley.

Canley rescued more than 20 fellow Marines under enemy fire in Vietnam during the Battle of Huế City in 1968. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor, Canley also received the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” and the Purple Heart.

ESB ships are highly flexible platforms designed to support multiple maritime-based missions, including air mine countermeasures (AMCM), Special Operations Forces (SOF), and limited crisis response.

Acting as a mobile sea base, this 784-foot (240 meters) ship has a 52,000 square-foot (4,831 meters) flight deck to support MH-53, MH-60, MV-22 tilt-rotor, and H1 aircraft operations.

US-based engine manufacturer Fairbanks Morse has been contracted to provide engines for the US Navy’s sixth ESB.

ESBs are commanded by a Navy O-6 with a hybrid-manned crew of military personnel and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners. This designation provides combatant commanders greater operational flexibility as to how the platform is employed.

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The USNS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7), the fifth ship in the ESB program, is currently under construction.

The first three ships in the ESB program, USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), and USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5), have been delivered to the U.S. Navy.