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U.S.S. OKINAWA

(LPH-3)

THE PROUD LADY OF THE PACIFIC

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The USS OKINAWA (LPH-3), an Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship, was commissioned on 14 APR 1962. USS OKINAWA served her country for 30 years, 8 months and 3 days, until decommissioned on 17 DEC 1992. After fit out and shake down, OKINAWA's first call to service was the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. East Coast service continued until January 1967 when she shifted home port to San Diego due to the massing of naval forces for the struggle in Vietnam. During her service career OKINAWA deployed numerous times to the the Western Pacific, recovered an Apollo space capsule and supported the effort in the Persian Gulf during the First Gulf War. After a thirty year career, she was sunk as a target in a fleet exercise off California, on June 6, 2002 - the 58th anniversary of D-Day.

The USS OKINAWA (LPH-3) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

LPH-3 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LPH-3 Shellback Initiation Add a LPH-3 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
APR1960-Keel Date: 1 APR 1960
at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
AUG1961-Launch Date: 19 AUG 1961
JAN1962-MAR1962Cuban Missle Blockade
APR1962-Commissioned: 14 APR 1962
AUG1962-DEC1962Cuban Missle Blockade
OCT1962-OCT1962Cuban Missle Blockade
OCT1964-NOV1964OPERATION STEEL SPIKE 1 - SPAIN
OCT1964-NOV1964Operation Steel Spike 1 - Spain
NOV1964-DEC1964u.s.m.c.
APR1965-MAY1965DOMINICAN REPUBLIC CRISIS
JAN1966-JAN1967Caribbean
JAN1966-DEC1966Caribbean
JAN1967-JAN1967West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR1967-DEC1967West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR1967-DEC1967West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1968-DEC1970West Pac
OCT1968-JUN1969West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1969-MAY1969West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1969-JAN1969Party on China Beach 1-9-1969
JAN1970-NOV1970West Pac-Viet Nam
FEB1970-FEB1971West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY1970-Shellback Initiation - 9 MAY 1970 - Pacific Ocean
MAY1970-NOV1970West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY1970-DEC1970West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1971-JAN1973West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG1971-Appolo 15 Recovery
SEP1971-SEP1971Recovery of Apollo 15
JAN1972-JAN1973haipong harbor
JAN1972-JAN1973RIMPAC
JAN1972-DEC1972Gulf of tonka
JAN1972-JAN1973West Pac
JAN1972-JAN1972West Pac-Viet Nam
APR1972-SEP1972RIMPAC
APR1972-Shellback Initiation - 1 APR 1972 - Pacific Ocean
APR1972-SEP1972West Pac-Viet Nam
APR1972-NOV1972West Pac-Viet Nam
APR1972-SEP1972West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
APR1972-SEP1972uss okinawa
AUG1972-OCT1972West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG1972-OCT1972West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG1972-NOV1972West Pac-Viet Nam
SEP1972-NOV1972West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV1972-JAN1973West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1973-JUN1973West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL1973-MAY1974West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG1973-MAY1974West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT1973-JAN1974West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV1973-MAY1974West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1974-FEB1974win ready ops 31st mau uss okinawa
JUN1974-JAN1977West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1975-AUG1975West Pac-Viet Nam
APR1975-MAY1975Evacuation of Saigon - Eagle Pull
APR1975-MAY1975Phnom Phen - Operation Frequent Wind
OCT1975-MAY1976Dry Dock
JUL1976-FEB1977West Pac
AUG1976-DEC1976West Pac
SEP1976-Shellback Initiation - 11 SEP 1976 - Pacific Ocean
SEP1976-JAN1977paul bunion
OCT1976-Shellback Initiation - 11 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
OCT1976-Shellback Initiation - 13 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
JUN1977-Shellback Initiation - 26 JUN 1977 - Pacific Ocean
SEP1977-OCT1977Kangaroo II
JAN1978-MAY1979West Pac
SEP1978-APR1979Middle Pacific
SEP1978-APR1979West Pac
JAN1980-JUL1980West Pac-Indian Ocean
JAN1980-JUN1980West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
MAY1980-Shellback Initiation - 2 MAY 1980 - Pacific Ocean
MAY1980-Shellback Initiation - 2 MAY 1980 - Indian Ocean
MAY1981-DEC1982West Pac
JUL1981-DEC1981West Pac
OCT1981-Shellback Initiation - 3 OCT 1981 - Indian Ocean
MAY1984-SEP1984West Pac
MAY1984-Shellback Initiation - 17 MAY 1984 - Pacific Ocean
JUL1985-DEC1985West Pac
SEP1985-Shellback Initiation - 11 SEP 1985 - Pacific Ocean
MAY1987-Shellback Initiation - 17 MAY 1987 - Indian Ocean
MAY1987- Shellback Initiation - 17 MAY 1987 - Indian Ocean
JUL1987-Shellback Initiation - 8 JUL 1987 - Indian Ocean
NOV1987-MAR1988Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
APR1988-DEC1988Dry Dock
AUG1988-Shellback Initiation - 23 AUG 1988 - Pacific Ocean
JUN1990-APR1991Desert Storm
JUN1990-JAN1991West Pac
JAN1992-JUL1992West Pac
JAN1992-JUL1992West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
MAR1992-Shellback Initiation - 30 MAR 1992 - Indian Ocean
DEC1992-Decommissioned: 17 DEC 1992

LPH-3 General Specifications

Class: Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship

Complement: 667 Officers and Enlisted

Displacement: 11000 tons

Length: 592 feet

Beam: 84 feet

Draft: 27 feet

Final Disposition: Expended as a target 6 June 2002



USS OKINAWA (LPH-3)



Okinawa (LPH-3) was laid down 1 April 1960 (15th anniversary of the invasion of Okinawa) by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Philadelphia Pa.; launched 19 August 1961; sponsored by Mrs. John L. McClellan wife of the Senator from Arkansas; and com missioned 14 April 1962 Capt. William E. Lemos in command.


Following commissioning and sea trials Okinawa departed Philadelphia 20 June 1962 for her homeport Norfolk where she spent a month fitting out. After a six-week shakedown cruise out of Guantanamo Bay and another month in Norfolk the amphibious assault ship began participation in her first fleet exercise in the Caribbean 15 October. Shortly thereafter the Cuban Quarantine was placed in effect and Okinawa remained in the area lending force to the United States' stand until 3 December wh en she returned to Norfolk.


The first half of 1963 was spent in availability at the Philadelphia and Norfolk Naval Shipyards and further trial operations in the Caribbean and out of Norfolk. On 9 July Okinawa began her first formal Caribbean deployment returning to Norfolk 1 October and spending the remainder of that year and the first part of the next in that area. During June 1964 she sailed to Newport R.I. and New York for the World's Fair. On 7 October she left on her first trip to European waters for operation "Steel Pike I " an amphibious exercise off the coast of Spain. After a stop in France and a goodwill visit to Plymouth England Okinawa arrived back in Norfolk at the end of November.


In April 1965 while participating in an exercise off Puerto Rico Okinawa was alerted and sent to an area off the Dominican Republic to act as medical evacuation ship with her marines as a floating reserve during the crisis in that troubled countr y. Then following the end of her deployment she proceeded via Norfolk to Philadelphia for overhaul. The following April she returned to Norfolk and began her third Caribbean deployment on 13 June. Okinawa transferred to the Pacific Fleet sailing 24 January 1967 for the West Coast and arriving San Diego her new home port 8 February.


Okinawa left on 10 March for her first deployment off Vietnam. On 13 April while sailing from Okinawa to Taiwan the ship was diverted by a distress call and the next day rescued all 38 persons from the grounded Panamanian vessel Silver Peak near the Sento Shosho Islands. While off Vietnam Okinawa was a mobile base from which a well-equipped force of marines could quickly strike via helicopters at the Communist insurgents. She returned to San Diego 5 December.


On 4 April 1968 after an intensive period of special training Okinawa recovered the unmanned Apollo VI space capsule 380 miles north of Kauai Hawaii. With further exercises and upkeep she conducted her second Westpac deployment from 2 November to 26 June 1969 when she arrived in San Diego for leave and upkeep. Okinawa continues her role in support of freedom at home and abroad alternating duty in home waters with deployments to the Far East into 1970.

[Note: The above USS OKINAWA (LPH-3) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS OKINAWA (LPH-3) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]