WAVY’s Navy Ship Salute is a feature on WAVY News 10 Today. Each month, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, WAVY-TV 10 will profile a different ship based at the world’s largest Navy base: Naval Station Norfolk. The series aims to better introduce our viewers to some of the largest floating taxpayer assets there are, as well as life aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The USS Fort Lauderdale is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock warship that was first commissioned in 2022. Built at Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, it is one of 12 in her class currently in service and the newest.

She is first U.S. Navy vessel to be named after the city of less than 200,000 on South Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

One might find the Navy’s decision interesting since the Navy hasn’t had a base in the community since the end of World War II. However, Capt. Gill McCarthy, said its long been a popular spot for sailors.

“Fort Lauderdale, of course the name implies military background, fort is in the word,” McCarthy said. “So Fort Lauderdale has a military background throughout their entire history. They are also a great supporter of the Navy, they are a great coastal city. But all of our cities enjoy a great support form the city.”

Built at a cost of $1.8 billion, she is 684 feet long and can handle 350 sailors and 600 U.S. Marines.

While the ship has yet to go on deployment, it has participated in what is known as a Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) drill.

During hurricane season, Lt. Anhviet Pham said it is vital for the ship to be able to respond to communities in need.

“So the Navy and Marine team comes (ashore) and we can bring them food and water and help repair lines or communication or whatever the case is,” Pham said.

Training is constant on board a Navy vessel. MACS Joseph Burchfield said all sailors must be able to defend the ship. They call it a surf bravo course.

“Demonstrating your tactics, techniques and procedures to defend yourself in the event that you do have to engage yourself in hand-to-hand combat,” Burchfield said.

Sailors are pepper sprayed when they actually complete the drill.