Navy commissioning to honor ship's Pennsylvania namesake

A new U.S. Navy ship will join active service in honor of its namesake, Pennsylvania's late longest-serving congressman John Murtha.

The USS John P. Murtha will be commissioned Saturday during a two-hour ceremony at Penn's Landing. Similar ships are used to transport and land Marines during military and humanitarian missions.

Murtha, a Democrat, was known as the de facto voice of veterans on Capitol Hill before his death in 2010.

The decorated former Marine was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to Congress and brought money and projects to depressed areas in his western Pennsylvania home district. He previously served in the Pennsylvania House.

Murtha retired as a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and received a number of accolades during his service, including two Purple Heart medals.