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.