San Diego, CA – Construction started on the fifth Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB), the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7), at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) in San Diego during a small ceremony, Dec. 1.
The ESB ship class is highly flexible and used across a broad range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases, similar to the Expeditionary Transfer Dock class. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with flexible distribution.
“ESBs are optimized to support the core capabilities of aviation facilities, berthing, special operations, equipment staging support, and command and control operations,” said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “The ESBs have demonstrated their ability to enhance the fleet’s flexibility and capability as they operate around the world. The addition of the future USS Robert E. Simanek will help continue to provide critical access in the maritime domain.”
The ship is named in honor of Marine Corps veteran Robert E. Simanek, who was awarded the Medal of Honor after he threw himself on an enemy grenade shielding his fellow Marines during the Korean War.
In 2019, the Navy made the decision to commission all Expeditionary Sea Base ships to allow them to conduct a broader and more lethal mission set, compared to original plans for them to operate with a USNS designation. 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.
GD-NASSCO has delivered three other ESBs and is currently constructing the future USS John L. Canley (ESB 6).
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.