Click to view crew list

The USS POINT DEFIANCE (LSD-31), a Thomaston-class dock landing ship, was commissioned on 31 MAR 1955. USS POINT DEFIANCE was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi and, after fit out and shake down, moved through the Panama Canal to take up station at Long Beach, California. She began a carrer of Western Pacific deployments, punctuated by special operations. POINT DEFIANCE fired research rockers in 1958, was in theater during the 1962 Cuban Missile Blockade, and in 1963 carried the bathyscaphe Trieste from San Diego Boston. POINT DEFIANCE deployment destination after 1963 was Vietnam. The mid-1970s brought a return to the peace time routine of "West Pac", state-side maintenance and training that comprises the career of a West Coast "Amphib". USS POINT DEFIANCE served her country for 28 years, 5 months and 30 days, until decommissioned on 30 SEP 1983. In September 1995, the she was sold for scrapping, but the Navy repossessed POINT DEFIANCE in July 1997. POINT DEFIANCE has been laid up at NISMF - Suisun Bay, Benicia, CA, awaiting final disposal.

The USS POINT DEFIANCE (LSD-31) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

LSD-31 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LSD-31 Shellback Initiation Add a LSD-31 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
NOV 1953 - Keel Date: 23 NOV 1953
at Ingalls Shipbuilding Pascagoula MS
SEP 1954 - Launch Date: 28 SEP 1954
MAR 1955 - Commissioned: 31 MAR 1955
AUG 1958 - Shellback Initiation - 24 AUG 1958 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1960 - JAN 1962 Cuban Missle Blockade
JUN 1961 - Shellback Initiation - 27 JUN 1961 - Pacific Ocean
AUG 1961 - JAN 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1962 - AUG 1962 Correction to Westpac 1961-1962 listed above
MAY 1962 - JUL 1962 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1962 - Shellback Initiation - 4 AUG 1962 - Pacific Ocean
OCT 1962 - OCT 1962 Panama Canal - Cuban Missle Blockade
OCT 1962 - OCT 1962 Cuban Missle Blockade
APR 1963 - MAY 1963 Transport the Bathyscaphe Trieste to resue the USS Thresher
SEP 1963 - MAR 1964 West Pac - Viet Nam - Taiwan
APR 1965 - NOV 1965 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUN 1965 - JUN 1965 Marine Amphibous assault landing-Chu Lai (1st in Viet Nam?)
MAY 1967 - APR 1968 Vietnam
APR 1968 - DEC 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
SEP 1969 - Shellback Initiation - 28 SEP 1969 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1969 - NOV 1970 West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV 1969 - JUN 1970 West Pac
JAN 1971 - MAY 1971 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUN 1971 - MAR 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
FEB 1972 - NOV 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1972 - NOV 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1972 - SEP 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT 1973 - APR 1974 West Pac
JUN 1974 - APR 1975 Dry Dock
SEP 1975 - OCT 1975 Alaska
JAN 1976 - JAN 1980 West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
APR 1976 - NOV 1976 West Pac
OCT 1976 - Shellback Initiation - 12 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
OCT 1976 - Shellback Initiation - 12 OCT 1976 - Pacific Ocean
MAY 1978 - Shellback Initiation - 13 MAY 1978 - Pacific Ocean
JUN 1978 - NOV 1978 West Pac
JAN 1979 - JAN 1980 Dry Dock
OCT 1980 - APR 1981 West Pac
NOV 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 11 NOV 1980 - Pacific Ocean
NOV 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 27 NOV 1980 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1982 - JAN 1982 West Pac
MAR 1982 - AUG 1982 West Pac
SEP 1983 - Decommissioned: 30 SEP 1983

LSD-31 General Specifications

Class: Thomaston-class dock landing ship

Complement: 304 Officers and Enlisted

Displacement: 8899 tons

Length: 510 feet

Beam: 84 feet

Draft: 19 feet

Final Disposition: Laid up in the Reserve Fleet


Point Defiance (LSD-31) was laid down by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp. Pascagoula Miss. 23 November 1953 ;
launched 28 September 1954; sponsored by Mrs. Arthur D. Struble and commissioned 31 March 1955 Comdr. Oscar Blair Parker in command.

Following shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico the new dock landing ship arrived Long Beach Calif. in July 1955 and joined Amphibious Squadron 7 Amphibious Force Pacific Fleet.

After two deployments to the western Pacific Point Defiance became one of the first rocket launching surface ships to support the 1958 International Geophysical Year Solar Eclipse Expedition to the South Pacific. Launchers on deck fired eight NIKE-ASP rockets to collect scientific data during the eclipse.

In May 1959 Point Defiance participated in the large scale and highly successful amphibious operation "Twin Peaks" off Oceanside Calif. In February 1960 Point Defiance made her third cruise to the western Pacific participating in operation "Blue Star " a combined amphubious operation with Chinese Nationalist Forces. In June 1960 she participated in operation "Sea Hawk " a combined amphibious landing with Republie of Korea forces and returned to Long Beach in July.

She operated off the West Coast during most of 1961 and made a brief cruise to Pearl Harbor and Okinawa. Point Defiance departed Long Beach for the western Pacific in January 1962. In May she landed Marines at Bangkok Thailand. In October she transited the Panama Canal and steamed to the Caribbean ready to act if needed during the Cuban Quarantine.

In early 1963 Point Defiance carried bathyscaphe Trieste from San Diego through the Panama Canal to Boston for deep search operations into the cause of the loss of the nuclear submarine Thresher.

In September Point Defiance was on her way to the western Pacific again. In October she steamed to Viet Nam to safeguard U.S. interests and in November participated in another combined amphibious operation with the Republic of China.

From April to September 1964 Point Defiance operated in the eastern Pacific then underwent overhaul. She departed for the western Pacific 27 April 1965 and off loaded men and equipment at Da Nang South Viet Nam 26 May. On 18 June she helped rescue survivors from the midair collision of two Guam based B-52's. In July she landed Marines at Qui Nhon South Viet Nam and in early August helped salvage Frank Knox (DDR-742) aground on Pratas Reef. In late August she took part in the very successful operation "Starlight " an amphibious raid at Van Tuong South Viet Nam which inflicted heavy enemy casualties. After another successful amphibious landing she returned home 24 November.

Point Defiance again departed for the western Pacific 27 March 1966 and began transporting troops and equipment from U.S. bases in the Far East to South Viet Nam. She returned to Long Beach 24 June but deployed to South Viet Nam again 1 November. On 11 January 1967 Point Defiance participated in operation "Deckhouse V " a major U.S. operation in the Kien Hoa area. On 18 May she sent U.S. Marines on to the beach in the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone exchanging fire with North Vietnamese shore batteries. She returned to Lonz Beach 24 June.

On 7 May 1968 Point Defiance was off on another deployment to the western Pacific once again with an amphibious ready group off Viet Nam. She returned to Long Beach 18 December. She remains with the Pacific Fleet into 1970.

Point Defiance was decommissioned 30 September 1983 and her name struck from the Naval Vessel Register 24 Feb. 1992. She was sold 29 Sept. 1995.

[Note: The above USS POINT DEFIANCE (LSD-31) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS POINT DEFIANCE (LSD-31) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]