USS Rushmore (LSD-47)


USS Rushmore (LSD-47)

USS "Rushmore" (LSD-47) is a "Whidbey Island"-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was the second Navy ship to be named for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

"Rushmore" (LSD-47) was laid down on 9 November 1987, by the Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans; launched on 6 May 1989, sponsored by Mrs. Meredith Brokaw, wife of NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw; and commissioned on 1 June 1991, at New Orleans .

History

1990s

The ship's first assignment was to deliver three Air Cushioned Landing Craft (LCAC) to Camp Pendleton, California from Panama City, Florida. Along the way, Rushmore conducted a port visit in Jamaica, traversed the Panama Canal, and visited Rodman, Panama. Camp Pendleton was the last stop before arriving at her homeport of NS San Diego.

During her first six-month deployment, "Rushmore" spearheaded the beach landing on Somalia during Operation Restore Hope. The largest military humanitarian operation in history, Restore Hope was designed to provide food and medical relief to the starving people of Somalia.

"Rushmore"'s 1994 WestPac deployment came almost one year ahead of schedule. She deployed with only four weeks' notice and participated in Operation Support Hope off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya, the USLO relocation in Somalia, and exercises with forces of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. During this deployment, "Rushmore" also was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

"Rushmore"'s 1996 deployment followed a complete and highly successful training cycle during which "Rushmore" earned the Blue E and the Battle E. This deployment provided numerous international training opportunities for the "Tarawa" (LHA-1) Amphibious Readiness Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) including operation Cobra Gold '96 with Thailand, Infinite Moonlight with Jordan, Red Reef with Saudi Arabia, and Meuex '96 with Kuwait. "Rushmore" demonstrated its superior adaptability throughout deployment by becoming the first LSD-41-class ship to employ Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) for the SPECWAR Detachment.

"Rushmore" concluded 1996 with a port visit to Mazatlan, Mexico. The ship earned its second consecutive Battle E in 1996.

"Rushmore" is the test platform for the Smart Ship program known as Gator 17. The ship was outfitted with several new technologies to reduce workload and manning levels. Information from the program aboard "Rushmore" will be used to assist in the design of the LPD-17 class amphibious ships. Installation was completed at the end of 1997."Rushmore" deployed in 1999 with the "Peleliu" Amphibious Ready Group and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU). During this deployment, "Rushmore" participated in Operation Iron Magic with the United Arab Emirates and Exercise Red Reef with Saudi Arabia. "Rushmore" also had the distinction of becoming the first United States Naval warship to visit Doha, Qatar in 10 years. Other port visits included Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Guam, Australia and Hawaii. "Rushmore" returned to San Diego in December 1999 and became the first "Smart Ship" to complete a six-month Western Pacific deployment.

2000s

With the new millennium, came a year of local operations for "Rushmore". The ship last deployed on December 6, 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the "Bonhomme Richard" Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 5). On the way to the Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility, a cataclysmic earthquake occurred, which would change the course of "Rushmore" and begin a massive U.S. military humanitarian operation, dubbed Operation Unified Assistance. The powerful tsunami that caused tidal waves and flooding in Southeast Asia took the lives of more than 100,000 people in a matter of hours. USS "Rushmore" and the elements of Expeditionary Strike Group FIVE were called into action.

The ship became an afloat staging base for military helicopters to refuel and transport supplies. USS "Rushmore" launched both LCACs bringing tons of food and water ashore for distribution to survivors. Once the operation ended, "Rushmore" reset a course to the Persian Gulf to support Maritime Security Operations, and help defend Iraq's Kwar Al Amaya and Al Basra Oil Platforms. The Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Kuwait, and went further north into areas of Iraq before they were brought back onboard in early April.

"Rushmore" sailors enjoyed two port visits during their two months in the Persian Gulf, one visit to the Mid-Eastern country of Bahrain, the other, a trip to the port of Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. During the transit home, "Rushmore" stopped for a port visit to Cairns, Australia. "Rushmore" and her crew of more than 330 sailors returned to the ship's homeport of San Diego, CA on June 6, 2005.

The ship completed a three-month maintenance period and participated in Operation Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) off the coast of Hawaii from June to August 2006.

"Rushmore" began 2007 by completing work ups with the "Bonhomme Richard" (ESG 5). They loaded more than 400 marines of the 13th MEU onboard along with their equipment to prepare for the transit to the Middle East.

On 16 February 2007, "Rushmore" was awarded the 2006 Battle "E" award. [cite web
url= http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=27895
title= Surface Force Ships, Crews Earn Battle "E"
accessdate= 2007-09-07 |author= Paula M. Ludwick |date= 2007-02-19
publisher= "Navy Newsstand"
]

As April 10th arrived the "Rushmore" was ready to get underway for deployment to the Middle East. The "Rushmore" has visited several different ports, including Guam, Singapore, Jebel Ali, Dubai and Bahrain.

As of September 2007, "Rushmore" is commanded by Commander Calvin D. Slocumb, homeported at NS San Diego, California, and assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG 3).

On December 1, 2007, the USS Rushmore became the first ship since the September 11 terrorist attacks to host a United States Navy Open House while inport Seal Beach, CA. Thousands showed up to tour the ship. The crew took visitors through the bridge, medical center, Combat Information Center, and other external places on the ship.

Notes

References

External links

* [http://www.rushmore.navy.mil USS "Rushmore" official website]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/1247.htm navsource.org: USS "Rushmore"]
* [http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/LSD47.htm nvr.navy.mil: USS "Rushmore"]
* [http://navysite.de/ships/lsd47.htm navysite.de: USS "Rushmore"]
* [http://www.hullnumber.com/LSD-47 U.S. Navy Ship Rosters at HullNumber.com]


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