USS John P. Murtha available for public tours this weekend

SAN DIEGO -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha will be available for public tours in downtown San Diego beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday, according to the Navy.

The San Diego-based vessel will be open to the public at the B Street Pier Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both weekend days. Members of the public can tour the ship, speak to sailors and shop for merchandise -- with sales on a cash-only basis.

The ship is named for the late-John Murtha, a congressman for 36 years from Pennsylvania who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. He earned a bronze star, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

The Navy said visitors should expect security checks and lines during peak hours.

Members of the public are encouraged to bring as few items as possible and wear flat-heeled, closed-toe shoes. High-heel shoes, flip-flops and improper attire, like bathing suits, are not permitted.

Adults should be prepared to show state- or federal-issued photo identification, and minors should be accompanied by adults with ID, according to the Navy.

The following items are prohibited:

-- weapons, including knives, firearms and club weapons;

-- defensive chemicals or sprays, including mace, pepper spray and aerosol spray cans;

-- fireworks, flammable liquids or other explosives;

-- illegal drugs and/or drug-related paraphernalia; and

-- large bags or purses, including backpacks or large camera bags.

The Navy said there will be no storage available for personal items like bicycles, baby strollers, scooters, pets, etc. Due to security concerns, all such items will not be permitted to remain on or near the pier area.