US Navy Lays Keel for Future USS Robert E. Simanek

The US Navy conducted a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7) at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company shipyard in San Diego.

The expeditionary sea base ship will sail to support airborne mine countermeasures and special operations missions.

It was commissioned after Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek, who shielded fellow marines from a grenade during the Korean War.

His daughter Ann Simanek led the ceremony and served as the ship’s sponsor.

Keel-laying ceremony for USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7)
Keel-laying ceremony for USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7). Photo: US Navy

“We are honored this ship will celebrate the late Robert E. Simanek’s legacy as a Medal of Honor recipient and Korean War veteran and his dedication to our country,” Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager Tim Roberts said.

Alongside the USS Simanek, the San Diego shipyard is building the future USS John L. Canley (ESB 6) and John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers.

The USS Robert E. Simanek

The USS Simanek is the US Navy’s fifth expeditionary sea base. It will have a hangar with operating platforms to handle helicopters similar to MH-53E Super Stallions.

It will also include workspaces, accommodations, and artillery storage supporting enhanced command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence.

The vessel’s deck area can be modified from mission to storage configuration for carrying equipment such as rigid hull inflatable boats and mine sleds.

ESBs such as USS Simanek were initially conceptualized as support ships but later commissioned for a broader, more lethal mission set.

The vessels are now operated with mixed military and civilian personnel for increased operational flexibility.

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