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Guam III LPH-9 - History

Guam III LPH-9 - History


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Guam III

(LPH--9: dp. 17,000 (f.); 1. 592'; b. 84', dr. 26'7" (f.) s. 20 k.; cpl. 528, a. 8 3", 24 large amphibious transport hero; cl. Iwo Jima.)

Guam (LPH-9) was laid down by the Philadelphia
Naval Shipyard 15 November 1962; launched 22 August
1964, sponsored by Mrs. Vaughan H. Emory Green; and commissioned 16 January 1965, Captain N. E. Thurmon in command.

After fitting out and builder's trials, the new amphibious assault ship joined the Atlantic Fleet 21 April 1965 and sailed for Norfolk, her homeport. Arriving Hampton Roads the next day for training off the Virginia Capes, she departed Hampton Roads for underway training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Guam returned to Norfolk 5 July for intensive amphibious training. She sailed from Hampton Roads 29 November to participate in amphibious and ASW exercises en route to the Caribbean. On 10 December Guam joined the Amphibious Ready Squadron in the Caribbean as flagship for Amphibious Squadron 12. There she operated at peak readiness to protect the peace and security of the Caribbean and Central America constantly threatened by Communist aggression and subversion.

From 16 to 28 February 1966, Guam patrolled south of the Dominican Republic ready to land forces on the volatile island of Hispanola if necessary. She conducted amphibious exercises until entering Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 1 June for post shakedown availability.

She departed Philadelphia 2 August and prepared for service a~s the primary recovery ship for the Gemini 11 space flight. On 18 September at 0959 EDT Guam recovered Astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon 710 miles east of Cape Kennedy. From 28 November to 12 December Guam participated in Exercise "Lantflex 66", and on the latter date became flagship of Amphibious Squadron 8 and Caribbean Amphibious Ready Group. She continued this duty into 1967 prepared to land troops at any point in the Caribbean where she might be needed to protect the freedom and integrity of the Americas.



International Radio Call Sign:
November - Alpha - Hotel - Mike NAHM Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons




Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon - (25-26 February 1991) Navy Unit Commendation (6) - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3)
Second Row - Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (6) - Navy Expeditionary Medal (Lebanon) - National Defense Service Medal (2)
Third Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Dominican Republic, Grenada, Lebanon, Op. Sharp Edge, Liberia, Op Restore Hope, Somalia) - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Armed Forces Service Medal (7)
Fourth Row - Humanitarian Service Medal (2) - Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Iwo Jima Class Amphibious Assault Ship (Helicopter):


Military

The mission of Amphibious Squadron TWO, since it was established in 1950, has been to exercise tactical control over and coordinate the employment of amphibious forces. This is done primarily in the conduct of assaults from the sea but the unit also support embarked Marine forces once they are established ashore and serve as Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet Amphibious Force when deployed to the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group, or MARG, is composed of three versatile amphibious ships capable of protecting and defending the interests of the United States, NATO and other allies. The MARG is also capable of conducting the rescue and evacuation of non-combatant personnel, as well as providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The Commodore acts as the Commander of the Landing Force and exercises tactical control of supporting elements. COMPHIBRON TWO's core staff of nine officers and fifteen enlisted specialists serves as a nucleus of expertise in assault planning, amphibious operations, task force operational control, coordination of naval gunfire and close air support, communications, medical surgery and treatment. During exercises and combat operations, the staff can be rapidly augmented to meet mission requirements and will number about 75 personnel with embarked naval support elements. Amphibious Squadrons are built much like an athletic team whose coaching and training staff remain permanently intact and receive athletes only for the season. The Core Staff serves as the "coaching staff" for the different units under its command. These units are referred to as Naval Support Elements or NSEs. They serve on this "team" for one year.

Amphibious ships are assigned to a squadron, more precisely an amphibious squadron which then becomes an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). Each amphibious squadron is designated by number and is comprised of an at-sea staff - typically 25 to 30 Sailors and Marines responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ships. In the case of Operations Allied Force and Noble Anvil, Amphibious Squadron TWO was in charge of all amphibious evolutions of its ships: USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3), USS PONCE (LPD 15) and USS GUNSTON HALL (LSD 44). Whether peacetime or during a full-scale operation, these ships are assigned to support the Marines, whether aboard or ashore. The approximately 2,000 Marines and 1,000 ship's company comprised Marine Amphibious Ready Group 99-2 which was comprised of USS KEARSARGE, USS GUNSTON HALL and USS PONCE. the mission of PHIBRON TWO parallels the mission of USS KEARSARGE, to exercise tactical control over and coordinate amphibious forces, primarily in the conduct of assaults from the sea, support embarked U.S. Marine forces deployed to the Mediterranean. The Amphibious Force is also capable of conducting the rescue and evacuation of non-combatant personnel, as well as providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Amphibious Squadron TWO contributes to America's policy of maintaining peace and preserving freedom worldwide by maintaining a ready peacetime presence in areas of vital interest to the security of the United States and our allies. The amphibious forces of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps maintain a significant capability to conduct amphibious operations in actual combat, as well as humanitarian, situations. In fulfilling these vital missions the squadron remains, as it has for the past four decades, "Ready to Strike."

In October 1994 USS Guam Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 2-94 (MARG 2-94), consisting of USS Guam (LPH 9), USS Austin (LPD 4), Uss Harlan County (LST 1196) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and under the command of Captain C.P. Vion, Commander Amphibious Squadron Two, participated in the Dynamic Guard '94 NATO exercise involving land, maritime and air forces from eight NATO nations France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States in Southern Europe.

The Sailors and Marines of the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Battle Group [including DESRON 26] and the USS Guam (LPH 9) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), departed their homeports and bases on 26 January 1996 for a regularly scheduled deployment. The George Washington Battle Group, commanded by RADM Henry C. Giffin III, Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 2, relieved the USS America (CV 66) Battle Group, which deployed August 1995. The Guam ARG, commanded by CAPT William D. Young, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 2, and including USS Trenton (LPD 14), USS Tortuga LSD 46) USS Portland (LSD 37), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable, relieved the USS Wasp (LHD 1) ARG. In December 1995 the battle group and ARG participated in Joint Task Force Exercise 96-1, their "final examination" before deployment, and the culmination of a year of intense preparation. In early April, the Guam ARG traveled to Liberia on the African coast where the ARG's embarked Marines from 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, flew ashore in helicopters to provide security at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. While still conducting this operation, elements of JTF-AR were ordered to Bangui, Central African Republic, to conduct similar operations. A special purpose Marine Air-ground task force, embarked on the Ponce (LPD 15) and with ten days' notice, relieved the Guam task force, and assumed the duties of CJTF-AR. This was done to allow the Guam ready group and the 22d MEU(SOC) to return to the Adriatic Sea and provide the European Command's desired over-the-horizon presence during the Bosnian national elections.

Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) 98-1 consisted of USS Guam (LPH 9), USS Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), USS Ashland (LSD 48) and Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and the Amphibious Squadron 3 staff. USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) and USS Guam (LPH 9) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) began a six-month overseas deployment 03 October 1997. Deploying with the aircraft carrier were nine tactical aircraft squadrons, a group of six cruisers, destroyers and frigates, a fast combat support ship and two submarines. USS Guam, USS South Carolina (CGN 37) and USS John Rodgers (DD 983) were making their final deployment. Traveling with Guam were dock landing ships USS Oak Hill and USS Ashland, amphibious transport dock USS Shreveport and more than 2,000 Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Guam ARG replaced the Kearsarge ARG, which had been forward-deployed during the previous five months to regions including the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea near Bosnia, the Arabian Gulf and off the western coast of Africa. Kearsarge departed its Norfolk home port early for deployment in response to tensions in Zaire. In order to keep Kearsarge's deployment to the standard six months, the ship left the Mediterranean early and conducted a turnover with Guam in the central Atlantic. The USS Guam (LPH 9) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) arrived on station in the Arabian Gulf 16 Feburary 1998 as it led a 12 ship formation through the Strait of Hormuz. In company with the 33-year old amphibious assault ship were the other four ships of the ARG: USS Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Oak Hill (LSD 51). USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) acted as the group's escort ship. Seven military preposition ships made up the remainder of the convoy. Ships of the USS Guam (LPH-9) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) began their return home after being relieved 11 March 1998 of their duties in the Arabian Gulf by the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) Amphibious Ready Group. The amphibious ready group (ARG) completed the trip to the Arabian Gulf in time so the USS Guam (LPH 9) ARG could depart for home on time. All three ships steamed almost constantly at 17-plus knots, about 90 percent of boiler capacity, in order to transit the 12,500 miles to the Gulf in just 31 days. In the Gulf of Oman, USS Guam, USS Shreveport (LPD-12), USS Ashland (LSD-48) and USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) turned over information they had compiled since arriving in the Gulf region on 16 February 1998.

MARG 99-2 - Marine Amphibious Ready Group 99-2 was comprised of PHIBRON TWO [USS KEARSARGE, USS GUNSTON HALL and USS PONCE] with the 26th Marine expeditionary unit, special operation capable (26 MEU SOC). The deployment began in the early morning hours of April 14, 1999, when Kearsarge departed its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. After picking up their Marines and their equipment via landing craft air cushion (LCAC) and helicopters, the three ships set sail at top speed for the Mediterranean Sea. The heavily populated city of Izmit and surrounding areas were the hardest hit Aug. 17, by an early-morning 7.4-magnitude earthquake that left over 15,000 dead and thousands more injured and homeless. Gunston Hall, USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and USS Ponce (LPD 15) were called to the sea of Marmara after the earthquake struck in support of operation avid response, the U.S. military's humanitarian response to the quake. Within hours of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall's (LSD 44) pierside arrival in Hereke, Turkey, Sept. 4, working parties comprised of both sailors and Marines were dispatched to U.S. sponsored tent-building sites near Izmit, Turkey, to aid in ongoing earthquake relief efforts.

USS Nassau (LHA 4) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) -- The general-purpose amphibious assault ship, USS NASSAU (LHA 4) departed for its six-month Mediterranean deployment on 28 November 2000. USS NASSAU had trained the previous eight months in preparation for this deployment through a series of exercises and operations. These pre-deployment exercises culminated with the successful completion of Joint Task Force Exercise 01-1 and NATO Exercise Unified Spirit 2000. Other ships sailing in the NASSAU Amphibious Readiness Group were USS NASHVILLE (LPD 13) and USS PORTLAND (LSD 37).


USS Guam LPH-9 (1965-1998)

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Spanish Influence Today

Over 333 years of Spanish occupation and intrusion into all aspects of Guam life has left an enduring influence on Guam life and culture that continues to this day. The Spanish occupation was characterized by conquest and conversion to “save the heathen souls”, implemented by force, which nearly resulted in the total extermination of the pure Chamorro race. Although the Spanish influence is great, the Chamorro culture remains the main influence on Guam today. The Spanish failed to recognize that the Chamorro culture was matrilineal and largely ignored the influence of the Chamorro women, which likely accounts for the fact that Chamorro culture has endured as the prominent culture on Guam to this day. The Catholic Church, brought to Guam by the Jesuits in 1668, continues to be a major influence Guam life. In 2021, Catholicism makes up approximately 75% of Guam’s religions. Protestants account for approximately 17.7%, Buddhism 1.1% Buddhism, other reliions 4.5% and 1.7% unaffiliated.

Spanish influence is evident in much of Guam’s present day architecture, especially in the Southern Villages. The Merizo Bell Tower, constructed in 1910 to alert village residents of important activities, displays a heavy Spanish architecture flavor. The Umatic Bridge, built in 1986 as the gateway to Umatic where Magellan landing in 1521, replicates Spanish Architecture of the era. A statue of Pope John Paul II rotates in the center of the capital city of Hagatna 24 hours a day on the site where he held mass in 1981. Today, every village has its patron saint whose feast day is celebrated with an elaborate fiesta to which the entire island is invited. Extended families contribute food and work to cook for the village guests.


1980s

While operating 50 km southeast of Morehead City, North Carolina (USA), on 19 July 1981, a Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter crashed into another CH-53 and a Bell UH-1N Twin Huey on landing. 4 crewmen died and 10 were injured.

Guam deployed to Beirut in 1982 for the Lebanese civil war as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force.

In October 1983, bound for another stint off the coast of Lebanon, she was redirected to the Caribbean to serve as the flagship for Operation Urgent Fury, invasion of Grenada. After operations in Grenada, she continued onto Lebanon with Amphibious Squadron Four/22nd Marine Amphibious Unit embarked, finally returning to CONUS on 1 May 1984.

In early 1985, the ship was drydocked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and given a massive overhaul lasting several months. Two Phalanx CIWS were added to the ship at this time.

On January 28, 1986, the USS GUAM was off the East Coast of Florida en route to Operational Trials, "Oppies", off of Puerto Rico when, while many crewmen were watching it on TV, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up nearly immediately above them. USS GUAM recovered many floating pieces of debris from the disaster, including a nose-cone from one of the booster rockets. For her around-the-clock efforts in the recovery mission her crew earned a Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Citation.

May through November of 1986 she was deployed on MARG 2-86 in the Mediterranean.

On the subsequent cruise to the Mediterranean Sea in 1987, the ship was damaged while sailing through a tropical storm off the East Coast of the United States. Gross command error had decided to sail directly through the storm, rather than go around it. A sailor on an escort ship was killed in a fall. Waves stripped the decking from the fantail, normally 50 ft above the water. All personnel were confined to racks for three days due to immense rocking. At least two helicopters were washed overboard and the ship stayed at port in Toulon, France for almost 3 weeks for repairs.


LPH-9 Guam

The Amphibious Assault Ship GUAM (LPH-9) is the fourth ship of the Iwo Jima-class (LPH-2) and the third ship to bear the name. Her christening commemorates the historic amphibious landing during World War II. The LPH is designed to transport more than 2,000 fully-equipped Marine assault troops into combat areas and land them by helicopter at designated inland points. GUAM's keel was laid on November 15, 1962 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Launched on August 22, 1964 and completed on March 31, 1965, GUAM is 602-feet long and displaces 18,000 tons (full load). She is powered by two boilers and one geared turbine that generates 22,000 total shaft horsepower for a maximum speed of 24 knots.

GUAM's keel was laid on 15 November 1962 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. She was launched on 22 August 1964 and commissioned in Philadelphia on 16 January 1965 during a ceremony that included the principal address by Manuel Guerrero, governor of the Marianas island of Guam. Completed on 31 March 1965, GUAM was 602-feet long and displaced 18,000 tons (full load). GUAM was designed to transport 2,000 fully equipped Marine assault troops into combat areas and land them by helicopter at designated inland points. This modern amphibious technique of vertical envelopment, pioneered by the Navy and Marine Corps team, exploits flexibility and surprise. "Mighty 9's" first commanding officer was Captain Norman E. Thurmon of Warrensburg, Missouri. Thurman served as a dive bomber pilot in the battle for which the ship was named.

GUAM's first major deployment on 29 November 1965 included embarkation of Marine Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 3/8 at Onslow Beach and participation with 50 other ships in the Caribbean in the full scale amphibious exercise PHIBASWEX/MEBLEX. This exercise began in Norfolk and terminated with a large scale amphibious landing on the island of Vieques. Following the exercise, GUAM and three other ships remained in the Caribbean as the Ready Amphibious Squadron under COMPHIBRON TWELVE. GUAM departed Norfolk, on 6 September 1966, for duty as the prime recovery ship for Gemini XI. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordan spent three days in space and set seven new world records for manned space flight before being recovered 710 miles east of Florida on 15 September. In late November GUAM departed Norfolk on LANTFLEX and the CARIB 4-66 deployment that lasted until 9 April 1967. On 6 december, as flagship for Commander Amphibious Squadron TWELVE, GUAM set sail in company with other units of PHIBRON TWELVE and assumed the duties of the Caribbean Ready Group (CARIB) 4-67. CARIB 4-67 included refresher jungle training conducted with the U.S. Army in Panama and port visits to St. Croix, Curacao, Panama, Trinidad, and St. Thomas. On 28 October 1968 GUAM departed for refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. During training, GUAM hosted dependents and school teachers from the naval station for weekend visits to Montego Bay, Jamaica and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. From 12 February to 12 July 1969 GUAM deployed as part of CARIB 1-69 again with COMPHIBRON TWELVE embarked. In March 1970 she was involved in the equipment recovery from the 1970 Solar Eclipse experiment when she recovered an Aerobe research payload fired from Wallops Island under the direction of NASA to study atmospheric conditions during the eclipse.

In May of 1970, GUAM departed Norfolk to embark a BLT and helicopter squadron at Morehead City before participating in exercise EXOTIC DANCER THREE, off the coast of North Carolina. She then headed for San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of CARIB 2-70. In June, while enroute to Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone, GUAM was ordered to Peru where a disasterous earthquake had occurred. GUAM has extensive medical facilities and was designed with a secondary role as prime recover ship for the evacuation of casualties. After transiting the Panama Canal on 8 June and loading relief supplies and medical teams in Balboa, she proceeded to Peru. From June 12-21 while anchored off Chimbote and Paramonga, Peru, the embarked squadron flew hundreds of mercy missions delivering food, tents, blankets and medical supplies ashore, and returning the most seriously injured to GUAM for medical treatment. GUAM later made a port call at Lima, where over 5,000 Peruvians visited the ship during her two-day stay, before retransiting the Panama Canal and ariving for amphibious exercises at Vieques on 5 July. A port visit to San Juan preceded the return to Norfolk. On 27 September GUAM sailed for the Eastern Mediterranean where she received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her participation in contingency operations during the Jordanian crisis.

Because of GUAM's similarity to a conceptual Sea Control Ship, she was selected during the summer of 1971 for the Navy's Interim Sea Control Ship (ISCS) project. After entering an extensive re-fit in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 28 October 1971, GUAM began tests and evaluation in conjunction with the ISCS Project on 18 January 1972. As the ISCS, GUAM provided inputs to preliminary design by developing tactical concepts and measuring system performance. Aircraft operated by GUAM in support of this conceptual project included SH-3H "Sea King" helicopters and the Marine Corps' AV-8A "Harrier" Vertical Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL) jet. GUAM completed the ISCS evaluation and reassumed her role as an Amphibious Assault Ship on July 1, 1974.

On 24 September 1974 GUAM became the first Navy ship to deploy operationally with AV-8A aircraft when she left her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia for participation in the North Atlantic NATO exercise "Alien Gold" and a six-month Mediterranean deployment with MARG 2-74. GUAM returned to homeport in March 1975 and began preparations for her first regular overhaul at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard which started on 1 July 1975. Following completion of overhaul on 6 March 1976, refresher training was conducted at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in May and included her second visit to Port-au-Prince. GUAM returned to Norfolk by way of a port visit to Fort Lauderdale and then commenced amphibious refresher training at Onslow Beach on 12 July. Later that month she was certfied to conduct mine countermeasures using H-53 helicopters. GUAM was then selected to be the first ship in the Navy to fly the new Jewish worship pennant that was introduced in October for use to signify that the ship was conducting Jewish worship services. This corresponded to the church services pennant already in use to denote Catholic and Protestant worship services.

GUAM commenced a deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean in 11 November 1976 in response to JCS tasking. This deployment included special State Department tasking to support Kenya and their celebration of Kenyan Independence day. GUAM sailed directly to the Mediterranean in total electronic silence and conducted turnover with USS IWO JIMA (LPH-2) as GUAM continued to steam through Gibraltar. She continued east and rendezvoused with the FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT (CV-42 ) off of the east coast of Sicily to transfer the helicopter squadron (HMM-264) to NAS Sigonella. Once completed, GUAM made another milestone in naval history by embarking a AV-8A "Harrier" squadron of 14 aircraft from the FDR to support the Kenyan operation and becoming the first LPH to routinely operate a full squadron of AV-8A aircraft. Leaving Sicily, GUAM transited to Port Said and commenced a middle of the night transit of the Suez Canal at the head of the southbound convoy in the company of USS CLAUDE V. RICKETTS (DDG-5). She proceeded south across the equator but delayed the traditional Shellback initiation until the return voyage because of concern for Ugandan intervention in the mission to Mombasa. USS DUPONT (DD-945) joined Task Group 101.1 on 5 December and the three ships arrived off Kenya in early December after GUAM had steamed non-stop for 28 days. On 12 December, GUAM steamed off of the coast of Kenya and launched 13 AV-8As in 14 minutes to overfly Jamhuri Park in Nairobi to honor President Jomo Kenyatta and for a fly-by celebration of Kenya's 13th year of independence. Following "their spectacular performance" and successful completion of the celebration, GUAM transited back across the equator with the grace of King Neptune and took the opportunity to introduce the 1,100 lowly Pollywogs to the exalted ways of the 47 Shellbacks. Following the northbound transit of the Suez Canal on 22 December, GUAM entered the Mediterranean and Alexandria, Egypt harbor for a port visit over Christmas 1976. GUAM had steamed 11,285 miles in the 39 days required to support the Kenya Special Operations.

In January 1977 GUAM recross-decked the AV-8's to the FDR and recovered HMM-264 from Sigonella. She rejoined the MARG at Naples and participated in exercise PHIBLEX 1-77 and then made a port visit to Barcelona, Spain. Catastrophe struck on the first night of this port visit when a LCM-6 landing craft being used as a liberty boat was struck by a Spanish freighter in the inner harbor and capsized. The boat carried over 100 enlisted sailors and marines half of whom drowned in the freezing winter water. Forty-nine crewman from GUAM and USS TRENTON (LPD-14) were lost in this tragic accident and a memorial to these men has since been erected in Barcelona. GUAM completed the remainder of the Mediterranean deployment with several fleet exercises and port visits to Genoa, Italy, Cannes, France, and Palma de Majorca. In May of 1977, while beginning her transit back home to Norfolk, Guam participated in joint oceanographic studies with the Soviet Union before returning to Norfolk in June.

While deployed to the Mediterranean in May, 1982. GUAM was sent to the coast of Lebanon to prepare for the possible evacuation of non-combatants during the war between the Israelis and opposing Palestinian and Syrian forces. GUAM participated in the evacuation of over 600 Lebanese, Americans and third country nationals from Juniyah, Lebanon, a city north of Beirut. In August, GUAM landed Marines in Beirut as part of a multinational peace keeping force which included Freneh and Italian troops. GUAM then participated in the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas from Beirut.

While deployed to the Mediterranean in May, 1982, GUAM was sent to the coast of Lebanon to prepare for possible evacuation operations or intervention in the war raging between the Israelis and opposing Palestinian and Syrian forces. GUAM participated in the evacuation of of over 600 Lebanese , Americans and third country nationals from Juniyah, Lebanon, a city north of Beirut. GUAM received the Navy Unit Commendation and the Humanitarian Service Medal for her efforts. In August, GUAM landed Marines in Beirut as part of a multi-national peace keeping force which included the French and Italians. GUAM then participated in the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas from Beirut. GUAM departed Lebanon after order seemed restored only to return in September, 1982, to re-deploy Marines. GUAM later departed the Mediterranean and arrived home in Norfolk on Thanksgiving Day.

During January, February and March 1983, GUAM participated in COLD WINTER 83 in which British and Norwegian forces joined in war games with the United States in northern Norway. GUAM then returned to Norfolk in April for and extensive upkeep period. Following a summer devoted to Board of Inspection and Survey Trials and an intensive maintenance effort, GUAM deployed in October 1983 as a unit of MARG 1-84. While enroute to the Mediterranean the task force was diverted to the island nation of Grenada where GUAM was a key participant in the rescue of approximately 200 American citizens in Operation Urgent Fury. During her ten days on station off Grenada, four airborne assaults were launched, two of which took place at night. During this action GUAM served as the flagship for the operational commander, CTJF 120, provided logistic support for Navy, Marine, Army and Air Force units involved in the operation, and served as the principal casualty receiving ship treating 76 wounded U.S. military personnel, civilian and prisoners of war without loss of life. GUAM also served as a temporary detention facility for the captured leaders of the Marxist Grenadian Junta. The Mighty Nine was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her act ions. After the island was secured, GUAM turned east, returning to the coast of Beirut, Lebanon, in early November to assume duties in support of the peace-keeping effort.

In January and February 1986, GUAM was dispatched to help in recovery operations following the space shuttle Challenger disaster. GUAM was instrumental in the recovery of one of the rocket booster nose cones which was able to be loaded on to the flight deck and returned for inspection. GUAM deployed in August 1990 to support Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During this eight-month deployment, GUAM was part of the amphibious force which conducted an historical feint operation, effectively neutralizing thousands of Iraqi forces along the Kuwaiti coast waiting to defend against a possible amphibious attack. In January 1991, GUAM departed the Persian Gulf region and evacuated American and other embassy personnel from Mogadishu, Somalia as part of Operation Eastern Exit, rescuing 282 people. Following the evacuation, GUAM returned to the Persian Gulf and resumed its role in Operation Desert Storm.

In June 1994, GUAM had the honor of representing the U.S. Navy in ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Southampton, England and Cherbourg, France.

In the spring and early summer of 1996, the "Mighty 9" steamed off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia as flagship of Operation Assured Response while embarked Marines guarded the embassy compound. GUAM's presence provided assurance to U.S. embassy personnel working in a country ravaged by civil war. In 1996 Guam ARG and 22d MEU demonstrated: mobility, by transiting over 3500 nautical miles within the region flexibility, by executing multiple taskings through combined and split force operations joint capability, by performing as a joint task force commander during a regional crisis sustainability, by remaining unobtrusively on station for 69 days and national resolve, by protecting and evacuating U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

As a result of factional fighting and general violence in Liberia, the exceptional flexibility and capabilities of naval forces were again showcased. In early April 1996, elements of the Guam (LPH 9) amphibious ready group (ARG) and the 22d MEU (SOC), were ordered to the vicinity of Monrovia, Liberia. Upon arrival, the 22d MEU (SOC) commanding officer assumed command of Joint Task Force-Assured Response (JTF-AR) which included Air Force, Navy, and Marine forces. With additional support from an HC-4 MC-53E helicopter detachment and other Navy-Marine Corps aircraft, embassy security and transportation were provided and 309 non-combatants were evacuated - including 49 U.S. citizens. While still conducting this operation, elements of JTF-AR were ordered to Bangui, Central African Republic, to conduct similar operations. A special purpose Marine Air-ground task force, embarked on the Ponce (LPD 15) and with ten days' notice, relieved the Guam task force, and assumed the duties of CJTF-AR. This was done to allow the Guam ready group and the 22d MEU(SOC) to return to the Adriatic Sea and provide the European Command's desired over-the-horizon presence during the Bosnian national elections. During the ship's final deployment from Ocober 1997 to April 1998, GUAM deployed to the Arabian Gulf to support U.S. military assets already present in the area, in response to Iraqi refusal to comply with United Nations weapons inspections. Shortly after the amphibious assault ship's arrival, Iraq agreed to comply, allowing for full and unfettered access to all suspected weapons sites. GUAM was decommissioned on 25 August 1998 and stricken from the Naval Register in November 1998 retroactive to 25 August 1998. She was temporarily stored at Norfolk pending disposal and was later moved to the James River.

The first Guam, launched in 1928, was a 159-foot river gunboat with a complement of five officers and 44 enlisted crewmen whose mission was to protect American interests on coastal and inland Chinese waters prior to World War II. As part of the Yangtze Patrol, or YangPat. the shallow-drafted vessel was ideally suited to transit the Yangtze River to convoy merchantmen, provide armed guards for American flag steamers, and "show the flag" in order to protect American lives and property in a land where war and civil strife had been a way of life for centuries. The ship was later renamed USS Wake and was captured by the Japanese in Shanghai where she was held for the duration of the war. She returned to US control in 1945 but was turned over to the Nationafist Chinese Navy and was renamed RCS Tai Yuan.


U.S.S. TRIPOLI

USS Tripoli name sake was the Battle of Tripoli Habor. In 1803, after years of having our merchant vessels taken by the Barbary Pirates, the United States dispatched a squadron to Tripoli in present day Libya.

The USS Tripoli (LPH-10) keel was laid on 15 JUN 1964 at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Two years, one month, and twenty two days later, 6 AUG 1966 USS Tripoli as commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval shipyard, with Capt. Henry Suerstedt, Jr., in Command.

After fit out at PNSY, Tripoli transited the Panama Canal and assumed her station in her home port of San Diego, CA in November of 1966.

May 1967 brought her first Western Pacific deployment. Over the next seven years Tripoli deployed to the Western Pacific - Viet Nam theater four times, providing USMC airborne assault capabilities.

The latter 1970s trough 1990 had Tripoli standing watch on the Pacific. She alternated deployments with her Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ships, undergoing the routine cycle of maintenance and overhaul, refresher training, amphibious training, then several years alternating Western Pacific deployments with lesser voyages and state side training and upkeep.

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait had Tripoli underway for the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf area of operations. In late 1990 Triopli was tasked with supporting mine sweeping operation in the Northern Persian Gulf. Mine sweeping was conducted by CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters based on Tripoli. On 18 FEB 1991 Tripoli struck a mine. Her crew's professional efforts are credited with her staying on station in order to transfer mine sweeping operation to USS New Orleans, before departing for a shipyard in Bahrain for emergency dry docking.

Several Western Pacific - Indian ocean deployments followed up to 1995.

USS Tripoli was decommissioned on 15 SEP 1995. After initially being laid up Mare Island Naval ship Yard in Vallejo, California, her hulk has been used as a platform for mislle testing.

The USS Tripoli (LPH-10) operational history and significant events of her service career follow:


Guam III LPH-9 - History

Guam deployed to Beirut in 1982 for the Lebanese civil war as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force.

In October 1983, bound for another stint off the coast of Lebanon, she was redirected to the Caribbean to serve as the flagship for Operation Urgent Fury, invasion of Grenada. After operations in Grenada, she continued onto Lebanon with Amphibious Squadron Four/22nd Marine Amphibious Unit embarked, finally returning to CONUS on 1 May 1984.

In early 1985, the ship was drydocked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and given a massive overhaul lasting several months. Two Phalanx CIWS were added to the ship at this time.

On January 28, 1986, the USS Guam was off the East Coast of Florida en route to Operational Trials, "Oppies", off of Puerto Rico when, while many crewmen were watching it on TV, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up nearly immediately above them. USS Guam recovered many floating pieces of debris from the disaster, including a nose-cone from one of the booster rockets. For her around-the-clock efforts in the recovery mission her crew earned a Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Citation.

May through November 1986 she was deployed on MARG 2-86 in the Mediterranean.


Watch the video: USS Guam LPH-9 (May 2022).