USS Guam (LPH-9)


USS Guam (LPH-9)

The USS "Guam" (LPH-9), an I"wo Jima"-class amphibious assault ship, was laid down by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 15 November 1962; launched 22 August 1964; sponsored by Mrs. Vaughn H. Emory Green; and commissioned 16 January 1965, Captain N. E. Thurmon in command. She was the third US Navy ship to carry the name, after the island of Guam.

She was the last of the "Iwo Jima" class in service. [ [http://www.helis.com/ships/lph.php "Iwo Jima" class] ]

After fitting out and builder's trials, the new amphibious assault ship joined the U.S. 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 1965 for intensive amphibious training. She sailed from Hampton Roads 29 November 1965 to participate in amphibious and anti-submarine warfare exercises en route to the Caribbean. On 10 December 1965 "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.

From 16 February 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 1966 for post shakedown availability.

She departed Philadelphia 2 August 1966 and prepared for service as 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.

In the summer of 1971 "Guam" was chosen as a test vessel for Admiral Elmo Zumwalts Sea Control Ship concept. This ship was to operate a few STOVL fighters and some ASW helicopters in order to free up supercarriers from convoy duty during a conflict with the Soviet Union. 18 January 1972 she began extensive testing and in 1974 deployed in the Atlantic as a sea control ship with Marine Corps AV-8A Harrier STOVL fighters and Sea King ASW helicopters. "Guam" completed the SCS tests and reassumed her role as an Amphibious Assault Ship on July 1, 1974. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/scs.htm]

On January 17 1977 in Barcelona, Spain, USS "Guam" and USS "Trenton", a landing craft being used as a liberty boat was run over by a freighter. There were over one hundred sailors and marines on board the landing craft. 49 sailors and marines were killed. A memorial is erected at the landing pier in memory.While operating 50 km southeast of Moorehead 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" upon landing. 4 crewmen died and 10 were injured.

In October 1983, as the lead ship of Amphibious Squadron Four, she participated in the invasion of Grenada.

Directly afterwards Guam went to Beirut for the Lebanese civil war as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force.

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 the subsequent cruise to the Mediterranean Sea, the ship was damaged while sailing through a tropical storm. At least two helicopters were washed overboard and the ship stayed at port in Marseille, France for almost 3 weeks for repairs.

She departed from Norfolk in August 1990 under the command of Captain Chuck Saffell to deploy to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, with less than a month's notice. When her crew received notice of the deployment the boilers were torn down for PMS (preventative maintenance).

In January 1991, "Guam" was sent to the coast of Somalia for Operation Eastern Exit. She was originally set to take the rescued personnel from the Embassy to Kenya, but Kenya refused the Russian Ambassador. Instead, "Guam" took them to Muscat, Oman before returning to the Persian Gulf.

In 1993, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.

In 1996, the USS "Guam" supported the 22nd MEU in Operation Assured Response off the coast of Liberia.

Because "Guam" was never certified for Harrier Night-Ops, the AV-8B Harriers were not normal complement for "Guam".

She was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on August 25, 1998 [ [http://www.helis.com/ships/lph.php "Iwo Jima" class] ]

The "Guam" was disposed of as a target off the US east coast on October 16 2001. The SINKEX was conducted by the "John F. Kennedy" Battle Group and the exact location was 031° 14' 22.0" North, 071° 16' 35.0" West. [ [http://www.navysite.de/lph/lph9.htm this site navysite.de] ]

There exists an [http://www.ussguam.org USS "Guam" LPH-9] Association for those who have served aboard the "Mighty Nine".

References

External links

* [http://www.hullnumber.com/LPH-9 LPH-9 Personnel Roster at HullNumber.com]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reu_0uULP58 SINKEX of USS Guam (LPH-9)] @youtube.com


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