Martha Puller Downs prepares to christen the USNS Lewis B. Puller named in honor of her father. Photo Courtesy of General Dynamics Nassco

Martha Puller Downs prepares to christen the USNS Lewis B. Puller named in honor of her father. Photo Courtesy of General Dynamics Nassco

With the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps in attendance, dignitaries named one of General Dynamics Nassco’s newest ships after a larger-than-life Marine, Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller.

Puller’s daughter, Martha Puller Downs, cracked the champagne bottle on the specially built protrusion on the ship’s hull during ceremonies Feb. 7 at the Barrio Logan shipyard.

The USNS Lewis B. Puller is the third of three Mobile Landing Platform ships built under a $1.3 billion contract. The Defense Department allotted extra millions to alter the ship’s design to be an Afloat Forward Staging Base; modifications include a flight deck, fuel storage and berthing. The U.S. military plans to use the ship as a floating base for Marines. The ship is also capable of supporting counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

Nassco plans to deliver the Puller in the second quarter of this year.

Lt. Gen. Puller was born in 1898, served in several notable battles during World War II and the Korean War, and received five Navy Crosses. He died in 1971.

The main speaker for the christening was Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., the top officer in the Marine Corps.

Virginia-based General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) builds military support ships in San Diego. The diversified defense contractor builds surface combatants and submarines at its other shipyards.