I read yesterday, that the Navy is NOT going to decommission the USS Ponce and instead, turn her into a floating SEAL base! My first reply was, WOW!! The USS Ponce has been scheduled for decommissioning at least twice that I know of. Once just after I retired from the Navy and most recently, last year. The Ponce is old, rode hard, and put away wet! She has been neglected because of her age and pending decommissioning. Federal law prevents spending upgrade funding on any ship that is within five years of decommissioning. So, Ponce has missed many upgrades. I believe she has also missed overhaul attention because of this. The bottom line is, the USS Ponce is the ship that refuses to die.
But the other side of this story is the floating SEAL base. We had two floating SEAL bases during the Iran/Iraq war. I have written about this before. This concept worked then and will work now. But, those bases were oil drilling rigs that were big and designed to anchor in deep water and remain stable. However, while they were self propelled, they were slow. Additionally, they had no installed self defense systems and very little command and control capabilities. So, the Ponce is much better equipped to meet these needs.
So, because of the need to provide a mobile base for our SEALS in the Persian Gulf, the USS Ponce lives again. We have historically done this exact thing, You may remember we recommissioned a couple of LSMR's to act as floating bases for the brown water Navy in Viet Nam. It worked then and it will work now.