Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced the Navy’s newest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship will be named in honor of Navy veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Capt. Richard M. McCool Jr.
McCool, a native of Oklahoma, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 and later served aboard Landing Craft Support (Large) 122 off the coast of Okinawa during World War II.
“Capt. McCool served his nation with honor, distinction and an unparalleled sense of duty.” said Spencer. “His exemplary service in defense of our nation spanned 30 years and three wars. His legacy will live on in the future USS Richard M. McCool and his heroic actions will continue to inspire Sailors and Marines for decades to come.”
On June 11, 1945, three kamikaze aircraft attacked McCool’s ship, leaving him temporarily unconscious. After regaining consciousness, he began leading others in efforts to save the ship and rescue injured Sailors.
On December 18, 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented McCool with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism. He would later serve in the Korean War and Vietnam conflict before retiring from naval service.
As the 13th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, USS Richard M. McCool (LPD 29) will support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups. It provides the Navy and Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable and built to operate with modern-day transformational platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey and amphibious assault vehicles.
Richard M. McCool will be constructed at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship will be 684 feet long, have a beam length of 105 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 22 knots.
Ingalls Shipbuilding division received a $218 million contract from the U.S. Navy to provide long-lead-time material and advance construction activities for LPD 29, the 13th amphibious transport dock of the San Antonio (LPD 17) class.