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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
APR 1960 Keel Date: 1 APR 1960
at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
AUG 1961 Launch Date: 19 AUG 1961
JAN 1962 - MAR 1962 Cuban Missle Blockade
APR 1962 Commissioned: 14 APR 1962
AUG 1962 - DEC 1962 Cuban Missle Blockade
OCT 1962 - OCT 1962 Cuban Missle Blockade
OCT 1964 - NOV 1964 OPERATION STEEL SPIKE 1 - SPAIN
APR 1965 - MAY 1965 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC CRISIS
JAN 1967 - JAN 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1967 - DEC 1967 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1968 - DEC 1970 West Pac
OCT 1968 - JUN 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1969 - MAY 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
FEB 1970 - FEB 1971 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY 1970 - Shellback Initiation - 9 MAY 1970 - Pacific Ocean
MAY 1970 - DEC 1970 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY 1970 - Shellback Initiation - 9 MAY 1970 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1971 - JAN 1974 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1971 - JAN 1973 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1971 - Appolo 15 Recovery
JAN 1972 - JAN 1973 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1972 - JAN 1973 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1972 - JAN 1975 West Pac
JAN 1972 - JAN 1973 RIMPAC
JAN 1972 - JAN 1973 West Pac
JAN 1972 - JAN 1973 haipong harbor
JAN 1972 - JAN 1973 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1972 - SEP 1972 RIMPAC
APR 1972 - SEP 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL 1973 - MAY 1974 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1973 - MAY 1974 West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV 1973 - MAY 1974 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1975 - AUG 1975 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1975 - DEC 1975 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1975 - MAY 1975 Phnom Phen - Operation Frequent Wind
APR 1975 - MAY 1975 Evacuation of Saigon - Eagle Pull
JUL 1976 - FEB 1977 West Pac
AUG 1976 - DEC 1976 West Pac
SEP 1976 - Shellback Initiation - 11 SEP 1976 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1976 - JAN 1977 paul bunion
OCT 1976 - Shellback Initiation - 11 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
OCT 1976 - Shellback Initiation - 13 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
OCT 1976 - Shellback Initiation - 13 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
JUN 1977 - Shellback Initiation - 26 JUN 1977 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1978 - MAY 1979 West Pac
SEP 1978 - APR 1979 West Pac
SEP 1978 - APR 1979 Middle Pacific
JAN 1980 - JUL 1980 West Pac-Indian Ocean
JAN 1980 - JUN 1980 West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
MAY 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 2 MAY 1980 - Indian Ocean
MAY 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 2 MAY 1980 - Pacific Ocean
MAY 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 2 MAY 1980 - Indian Ocean
MAY 1981 - DEC 1982 West Pac
JUL 1981 - DEC 1981 West Pac
OCT 1981 - Shellback Initiation - 3 OCT 1981 - Indian Ocean
MAY 1984 - SEP 1984 West Pac
JUL 1985 - DEC 1985 West Pac
SEP 1985 - Shellback Initiation - 11 SEP 1985 - Pacific Ocean
MAY 1987 - Shellback Initiation - 17 MAY 1987 - Indian Ocean
JUL 1987 - Shellback Initiation - 8 JUL 1987 - Indian Ocean
NOV 1987 - MAR 1988 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
APR 1988 - DEC 1988 Dry Dock
JUN 1990 - MAR 1992 Desert Storm
JUN 1990 - APR 1991 Desert Storm
JAN 1992 - JUL 1992 West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
JAN 1992 - JUL 1992 West Pac
MAR 1992 - Shellback Initiation - 30 MAR 1992 - Indian Ocean
DEC 1992 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]