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USS Miguel Keith Is the First Navy Ship to Proudly Bear This War Hero’s Name

It's a great moment when a Navy ship enters active service, honoring an important figure in the U.S.’s military history. Their memory continues to live on and every action of the new ship becomes an act of commemoration.
The Miguel Keith was commissioned on May 8, in California 7 photos
USS Miguel Keith CommissioningUSS Miguel Keith ESBUSS Miguel Keith ESBUSS Miguel Keith ESBUSS Miguel Keith ESBUSS Miguel Keith ESB
USS Miguel Keith, the Navy’s newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, was commissioned during a restricted, yet emotional ceremony on Saturday, at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California. Its inspiring motto, “Semper in Pugna”, meaning “Always in the Fight”, is perfectly in sync with the story behind the ship’s name.

Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith is a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, who served with the Combined Action Platoon 132, III Marine Amphibious Force, in Quang Ngai Province. Like the story of many U.S. Navy heroes, Miguel Keith’s journey culminated with a mortal wound that was transformed into a victorious ending.

In 1970, a ground attack on the entire platoon left him seriously injured. However, Keith, who was serving as a machine gunner, continued to perform his duty, which resulted in the death of 3 attackers and the dispersion of 2 more.

But this wasn’t the end, as Keith was wounded again by an enemy grenade. Incredibly, he was still able to advance, kill more attackers and disperse the rest. Although he eventually succumbed to his wounds, his efforts contributed to his platoon’s victory over a numerically superior enemy.

Miguel Keith’s family was able to honor his memory on May 8, the day he passed away heroically, at the ship commissioning. Keith’s brother was present at the ceremony, while his mother, who is also the ship’s sponsor, was the one who gave the traditional order, “Man our ship and bring her to life!”, through a recording.

USS Miguel Keith is the third ESB, previously known as Afloat Forward Staging Base in the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program. These platforms are mainly support ships with logistics tasks.

The Miguel Keith will operate from Saipan, in the western Pacific Ocean, as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force.



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