It’s the story of a young Marine Corps officer’s love for baseball, and the sacrifices it brought him.
In February of 2018, the USS Ponce de Leon was docked at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, for a port call.
The Ponce was the first US Navy warship ever built to operate in the Arabian Gulf.
It was to be a fast, heavily armed warship capable of transporting nearly 2,000 Marines to the battlefield in Yemen.
The ship was in port because it had been repaired to support a new generation of amphibious assault ships and the Marines were looking to build another.
They had to build their own version of the Ponce, the Amphibious Combat Ship.
The Marine Corps is now operating four of these ships.
The first, USS Pueblo, is currently in the Gulf of Aden, while the second, USS Kearsarge, is slated to enter the Arabian Sea next year.
Both ships will carry around 7,000 troops and will cost nearly $1 billion each.
While the two ships have been under construction, the Marines have been testing the Pueblos combat capabilities.
The Navy had begun installing its own amphibious attack boats, but were not yet ready for the Pisco.
The Pisco is a modified version of an amphibious transport dock ship.
It is designed to carry up to 1,000 marines, including some who are medically evacuated from the ship.
The ship has a large landing deck for the Marines, and its crew will be mostly civilians.
The Marines say the Piscos will be able to withstand some of the harshest conditions in the world.
“The Pisco’s amphibious landing gear and landing systems are capable of performing a high degree of maneuverability and stability in any conditions encountered by our forces,” according to the Marine Corps.
“Our Marine Corps has been training and operating Pisco-class amphibious ships for more than a decade and the Pisces are the first to enter combat deployment under this program,” a Navy statement said.
The Marines say that since the ship is armed with machine guns, they can operate the ship safely without fear of an enemy attack.
The new Pisco will also have an anti-aircraft system and a large forward operating room that can handle some of that kind of damage.
The Navy’s first Pisco in the Middle East was destroyed by a Hamas rocket attack in the summer of 2020.
The USS Pisco returned fire, killing the commander of the ship and wounding six others.
“We know the PISCOS can handle the challenges of operating in the region,” the Navy statement says.
“Our PiscOS has been deployed to many of the most dangerous locations in the war-torn Middle East.”
The Pisce’s success will help fuel a future version of Marine Corps combat power.