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U.S.S. TUSCALOOSA

(LST-1187)

EXTRA THREE PERCENT

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USS TUSCALOOSA (LST-1187 ) - a Newport-class tank landing ship

In Commission 1970 to 1994

LST-1187 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LST-1187 Shellback Initiation Add a LST-1187 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
NOV1968-Keel Date: 23 NOV 1968
at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company San Diego CA
SEP1969-Launch Date: 6 SEP 1969
OCT1970-Commissioned: 24 OCT 1970
JAN1972-SEP1972West Pac-Viet Nam
MAY1972-JUN1972West Pac-Viet Nam
DEC1972-DEC1972Alapulco
AUG1973-APR1974West Pac
APR1975-NOV1975West Pac-Viet Nam
APR1975-NOV1975West Pac
JAN1976-AUG1977West Pac
MAR1977-NOV1977West Pac
JUL1979-FEB1980West Pac
AUG1982-FEB1983West Pac
DEC1982-FEB1983Middle Pacific
JAN1983-JAN1984Grenada
JAN1984-Shellback Initiation - 18 JAN 1984 - Pacific Ocean
OCT1984-APR1985West Pac
JAN1985-JAN1985Shellback Initiation - 19 JAN 1985 - Pacific Ocean
JAN1985-Shellback Initiation - 18 JAN 1985 - Pacific Ocean
JAN1985-Shellback Initiation - 18 JAN 1985 - Indian Ocean
MAY1985-JUL1985Escorting the Nautilus from San Francisco to the Panama Canal
JAN1986-Shellback Initiation - 1 JAN 1986 - Pacific Ocean
JUN1986-DEC1986West Pac / Alaska
SEP1986-Shellback Initiation - 3 SEP 1986 - Pacific Ocean
JAN1989-JAN1989USS Tuscaloosa
JUN1989-Shellback Initiation - 19 JUN 1989 - Indian Ocean
OCT1989-MAY1990West Pac
DEC1989-JUL1990West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
JUN1990-Shellback Initiation - 6 JUN 1990 - Pacific Ocean
JUN1990- Shellback Initiation - 6 JUN 1990 - Pacific Ocean
JAN1992-JUL1992West Pac-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
FEB1994-Decommissioned: 18 FEB 1994

LST-1187 General Specifications

Class: Newport-class tank landing ship

Named for: Tuscaloosa

Complement: 14 Officers and 241 Enlisted

Displacement: 5190 tons

Length: 522 feet

Beam: 69 feet 9 inches

Flank Speed: 20 knots

Final Disposition: In reserve



USS TUSCALOOSA (LST-1187)



Tuscaloosa (LST-1187) was laid down on 23 November 1968 at San Diego Calif. by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 6 September 1969; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas F. Connolly; and commissioned on 24 October 1970 Comdr. Harry W. Kinsley Jr. in command.

Tuscaloosa spent the remainder of the year alternating in underway and upkeep periods. On 4 January 1971 she began duty off the coast of California as a test ship evaluating John C. Calhoun's (SSBN-630) sensors.

She continued a rigorous training schedule out of San Diego her home port into the spring when she prepared for a deployment to the western Pacific. The tank landing ship loaded a cargo of Quonset hut components and a tank-deck load of LVT's tanks and heavy construction vehicles and departed the west coast on 18 May 1971.

Arriving at Okinawa on 1 June Tuscaloosa unloaded and proceeded -- via Subic Bay Philippines -- to Danang South Vietnam. After taking on a cargo of Marine Corps equipment she returned home to San Diego on 6 July and began an extensive post-shakedown availability which lasted into the fall. On 1 October Tuscaloosa got underway for a seven-month WestPac deployment in company with Amphibious Squadron 5 -- Tripoli (LPH-10); Duluth (LPD-9); Anchorage (LSD36); Mobile (LKA-115); and Schenectady (LST-1185).

For the remainder of the year the landing ship conducted exercises and operations in the Philippines and off Okinawa. She operated with marines took part in amphibious exercises and ended the year at Sasebo Japan.

The ship got underway for the Ryukyus on 4 January 1972 but was delayed by a collision with a Japanese patrol craft. The next day after an informal investigation ascertained that she had not suffered any damage she resumed her voyage to Okinawa where she embarked marines and transported them to Yokosuka. Following repairs to her bow doors the ship sailed for the Philippines and arrived at Subic Bay on 16 February. There the ship loaded a cargo of generators and delivered them to Vungtau South Vietnam.

The ship returned to Japan soon thereafter transporting marines and equipment before she headed back to the Philippines for amphibious exercises. Then upon completion of these exercises Tuscaloosa got underway in company with Mobile and Denver and proceeded via Okinawa to Vietnamese waters arriving on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf on 6 April. She remained on station until 3 May when she proceeded via Danang to Subic Bay. Tuscaloosa subsequently returned to Vietnam and operated both at Danang and on "Yankee Station" until late May.

The LST next supported Thailand contingency operations by transporting Marine Corps equipment and Navy construction battalion tools. She then returned to Subic Bay and pressed on to the United States at the end of her grueling 10-month deployment.

She engaged in local operations and amphibious exercises off the California coast into mid-1973 before she again deployed to WestPac on 29 August her holds filled with Project "Handclasp" material for delivery to communities in the Philippines. Tuscaloosa later participated in Operation "Pagasa II" in conjunction with units of the Philippine Navy and operated out of Subic Bay for the remainder of the year with calls at Hong Kong and Kaohsiung Taiwan on her itinerary.

Commencing 1974 with exercises with Korean naval units in Operation "Fly Away " Tuscaloosa visited Keelung Taiwan in late January before departing Okinawa on 11 February 1974 and returning via Pearl Harbor to the west coast of the United States. The next major item on Tuscaloosa's agenda was a major overhaul by the Todd Shipyards at Seattle Wash. which began on 9 July.

On 3 August an 11-man rescue and assistance party from the ship assisted Moctobi (ATF-105) in rescuing USNS Lipan which had collided with another vessel in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and lay dead in the water in danger of sinking. Prompt salvage efforts over a three-day period enabled Lipan to return to port for repairs.

After Tuscaloosa's own repairs and overhaul had been completed she rejoined the fleet on 12 December and operated along the California coast into the spring of 1976. She again deployed to WestPac on 1 April getting underway from San Diego in company with two Korean minecraft and Barbour County (LST-1195) for Pearl Harbor and Okinawa

While Tuscaloosa and her three consorts sailed westward the situation in Southeast Asia deteriorated rapidly. Both the South Vietnamese and Cambodian governments were tottering and their forces falling back under the onslaught of communist troops. Tuscaloosa arrived at Pearl Harbor on 6 April and proceeded on toward the Ryukyus on the same day. Arriving at Okinawa on the 18th the LST's crew urgently offloaded her cargo and pressed on the next day for Subic Bay. After a full-power run she arrived there on the 21st and embarked 280 stragglers who had been unable to return to their ships -- Enterprise (CVAN-65) Midway (CVA-41) and Hancock (CVA-19) -- when the carriers pulled out hurriedly to participate in "Frequent Wind " the evacuation of Saigon.

Tuscaloosa now turned-to to support Operation "New Life" -- escorting 26 former South Vietnamese Navy ships to the Philippines. During the seven-day passage she provided over 200 pallets of food and medical supplies per day and earned the Meritorious Unit Commendation while thus engaged. In addition she sent salvage and repair parties to various ships to effect any repairs necessary to keep the less seaworthy Vietnamese ships afloat. Two craft were evacuated and sunk by gunfire from Tuscaloosa to eliminate possible hazards to navigation. In addition four Vietnamese craft were temporarily taken over by the United States Navy and placed under the command of four officers from Tuscaloosa.

From Subic Bay Tuscaloosa proceeded to Okinawa and upon arrival there was ordered to make best possible speed for the Gulf of Thailand. Four days later when nearly at her destination she was ordered to turn back. The evacuation of the area had been completed and her services were no longer needed. Thereafter the LST continued routine operations during this WestPac deployment before returning to the west coast of the United States on 17 November 1975. She conducted another deployment to the western Pacific during the period 29 March to 17 November 1977 and spent the period 3 February to 10 Deccmber 1978 in regular overhaul at San Diego. Tuscaloosa continued to operate with the Pacific Fleet into 1979.

Tuscaloosa earned four battle stars and a Meritorious Unit Commendation during her Vietnam service.


Tuscaloosa was decommissioned 18 February 1994 and transferred to the Venezuelan Navy.

[Note: The above USS TUSCALOOSA (LST-1187) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS TUSCALOOSA (LST-1187) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]