The U.S. Navy’s newest amphibious transport dock ship, the USS John P. Murtha, visited Barbados from August 30 to September 2 during its maiden voyage. The primary purpose of the ship’s visit was to expand partnerships with Barbados’ maritime forces.
The crew of the USS John P. Murtha, under the command of Captain Kevin Parker, also participated in several community outreach projects. Led by U.S. Defense Attaché to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Commander Christopher Boes, dozens of sailors paid a visit to the Gordon Walters Primary School in St. Patrick’s, Christ Church, to paint the school ahead of the start of the new school year, as well as engage with students. Linda Taglialatela, the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, visited the project and talked with the students. She later presented the principal of the school, Tyrone Marshall, with a donation of text books for the school’s library.
The crew of the USS John P. Murtha also hosted members of the Barbadian political and military ranks at a sunset reception aboard the ship. Ambassador Taglialatela joined Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxine McClean, in cutting a ceremonial cake that recognized the strong maritime ties between the United States and Barbados.
In her remarks, the Ambassador told attendees, “We are both seafaring nations that take our naval obligations very seriously. Barbados has time and again proven to be a reliable and capable partner when it comes to answering those difficult distress calls and rescuing people — in addition to their excellent work in security.”
The ship can carry up to 800 troops and has the capability to transport and unload air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. It is named for John P. Murtha, a United States Marine Corps officer and member of the House of Representatives from 1974 until his death in 2010. Murtha was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.