SHIP INFORMATION

Active amphibious ship information is updated as status changes.

ACTIVE AMPHIBIOUS SHIP TYPES

Amphibious Command Ships (LCC) - 2 active

Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA) - 2 active, 1 under construction, 2 have been awarded with 1 named

Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) - 7 active

Landing Platform Dock (LPD) - 12 active, 3 under construction, 1 contract has been awarded, and 1 has been authorized

Landing Ship Dock (LSD) - 10 active

INACTIVE AMPHIBIOUS SHIP TYPES

Amphibious Cargo Ship (AKA)

Auxiliary Personnel Attack (APA)

High Speed Transport (APD)

Landing Craft Infantry (LCI)

Landing Craft Support (LCS)

Inshore Fire Support Ship (LFR)

Amphibious Cargo Ship (LKA)

Landing Platform, Amphibious (LPA)

Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH)

Amphibious Transport Small (LPR)

Amphibious Transport Submarine (LPSS)

Landing Ship Tank (LST)

TOMORROW'S AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are in the process of developing another amphibious type of ship referred to as Landing Ship Medium (LSM), previously known as Light Amphibious Warship (LAW). Acquisition of the first LSM has been delayed from 2023 to 2025 in order to reevaluate the program requirements. In question, are the ships slow speed (14-16 knots), troop capacity (only 75), limited weapons (25mm or 30mm gun system and a .50 caliber machine gun), and an inability to carry the Ship to Shore Connector (SSC), which is the replacement for existing Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC).

March 8, 2023: The Marine Corps began a four-phase experiment with a leased offshore support vessel referred to as a Stern Landing Vessel (SLV) from Hornbeck Offshore Services. After undergoing some modifications (reinforced deck, landing legs, propeller, and rudder protection, etc.), the vessel is being tested in real-life situations while the warfighting lab starts writing and updating the ships operating manuals. Additional ships will be leased with the second or third ship adding a flight deck.

UPDATES:

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress Updated December 21, 2023

Navy Medium Landing Ship (LSM) Program: Background and Issues for Congress Updated December 20, 2023

December 7 USNI News ACMC Mahoney: Landing Ship Medium Doesn’t Need to be a ‘Cyber Truck’

Gator Navy! Today’s amphibious ships have origins as far back as 1915 when landing craft called ‘X Lighters’ were built. As amphibious task force requirements have changed, so have the types of amphibious ships.

The ship types active today are Blue Ridge Class Amphibious Command Ships (LCC), America Class Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA), Wasp Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), San Antonio Class Landing Platform Dock (LPD), and Whidbey Island Class and Harpers Ferry Class Landing Ship Dock (LSD).

ABOUT LANDING SHIP DOCK (LSD)

SHIP'S MISSION: To embark, deploy and land elements of a Marine Landing Force in an assault by helicopter, landing craft, amphibious vehicles or by a combination of these methods.

USS Anchorage (LSD 36) well deck ballasted down to launch LCAC.
LCAC launched.

LSD stands for Landing Ship, Dock. The ‘D’ is reference to a well deck, which is an open space running almost the entire length of the ship, allowing the aft part to sink up to ten feet in order to flood its well deck with water. How it works? The stern gate is lowered, and all or some of the ship's ballast tanks (USS Anchorage had 44) would be filled with sea water, causing the controlled lowering of the stern, allowing water to enter the well deck. Once the well deck is low enough, amphibious landing craft are launched or retrieved.

“When we shot tow missiles off the flight deck out by San Clemente Island was the only time when I was onboard that we used all 44 of them. Usually, we only used around 20 of them. We would fill eight on each side then control the up and down with the four largest ones down the center of the ship.” HT3 Eric Tews (10/84-4/88)

As a dry dock, boats would enter and be secured, the water in ballast tanks pumped back out resulting in the dry docking of the boat(s), and the stern gate lifted. LSDs also have a flight deck for helicopter operations, aviation refueling and fuel storage capabilities, one or two cranes, and multiple small boats.

The very first class of LSDs was the Ashland Class (LSDs 1-8), followed by the Casa Grande Class (LSDs 13-27), Thomaston Class (LSDs 28-35), Anchorage Class (LSDs 36-40), Whidbey Island Class (LSDs 41-48), and Harpers Ferry Class (LSDs 49-52). NOTE: LSDs 9-12 were delivered to the British Navy.

The last LSD commissioned was in 1998 and there are ten still active. The decommissioning in 2023 of LSDs 42, 44, 46, and 48 was blocked by congress. This puts in question the decommissioning and placing in reserve of LSDs 47, 49, 50, and 52 which were scheduled for 2024; LSD 51 in 2025; and LSD 45 in 2026.

Like all Naval ships, LSDs have evolved. The 55 years between the first and last LSD saw the length increase over 150’, vehicle storage capacity increase by almost 7,000 square feet, and ship displacement increase by over 8,100 tons. Original 3”/50 caliber gun mounts have been replaced with modern weapon systems, flight operations have expanded to include multiple landing spots for helicopters up to V-22 Osprey in size, and well decks are larger to accommodate the Navy’s newest amphibious assault landing craft. LSDs have always been able to berth, feed, and transport hundreds of fully equipped combat troops; the last LSD built can hold over 500.

ABOUT USS ANCHORAGE (LSD 36)

ship's crest

Ship's crest: The Latin term “Sui Generis” is translated to mean “of a particular kind or first of a class.” Symbolized in the anchor and line are stability and security which the ship provided for the U.S. Navy on the high seas. The ship was unique in two respects; first, it was the largest Dock Landing Ship ever constructed and second, it was the first ship to be named after the historical city of Anchorage, Alaska. Finally, the star on the map depicts the largest city in the largest State of the Union --- ANCHORAGE.

USS Anchorage was lead ship of her class and was the last in class to be decommissioned. The Anchorage Class consisted of five ships; the others were USS Portland (LSD 37), USS Pensacola (LSD 38), USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39), and USS Fort Fisher (LSD 40).

Changes to armament, internal systems, and ship’s boats were made over the years. The four 3”/50 caliber rapid fire gun mounts were replaced with two MK-15 Block 1 CIWS (Close-in Weapon System), two 25mm chain guns, 1 MK 36 Mod 6 SRBOC (Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures), and six .50 caliber machine guns. The ship’s boats at commissioning were one LCM-8 (Landing Craft Mechanized, Mark 8), one LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), and two 36’ LCPLs (Landing Craft, Personnel, Large), one being designated as the Captain’s Gig. Introduction of the LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) in 1987 meant the LCM-8 and LCVP were no longer needed. When decommissioned in 2003, the ship had just two 36’ LCPLs. Two LCAC would be temporarily assigned to the ship when deployed.

The ship was equipped with movable ramps to move personnel and cargo between any of three levels: well deck, mezzanine deck, and flight deck. The ship was also equipped with machine shops and repair facilities, and along with two 50-ton Boat & Aircraft Cranes; one port, one starboard, could provide dry dock services for vessels up to harbor tug in size. This is when the flight deck could be removed.

This ship could embark 337 troops and had extensive storage facilities, including 1,400 cubic feet for cargo and ammunition stowage and 8,400 square feet for vehicle storage. Her flight deck had one helicopter spot and could carry two LCAC in the well deck. More landing craft could be carried if the Mezzanine Deck was removed.

Most decorated ship on San Diego's waterfront at decommisssioning in 2003.
One of the most decorated.

USS Anchorage was the most decorated ship on San Diego's waterfront when decommissioned in 2003, having 17 medals. Besides the following medals, our ship was also awarded the 'Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy' in 1987 and earned a 'Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation' in 1995. Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award Second Row: U.S. Navy Unit Commendation (2), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3), Battle "E" Ribbon (6) Third Row: Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (3), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (5) Fourth Row: Vietnam Service Medal (24, 4 Campaigns), Southwest Asia Service Medal (3 Campaigns), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Fifth Row: Humanitarian Service Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (14 Deployments), Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Bottom Row: Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Liberation Medal - Kuwait

NOTE: It has been extremely difficult verifying the medals awarded to USS Anchorage. The information above is from NHHC, NDAWS, COMNAVSURFPAC, COMPACFLT, NAVSEA, and numerous others. I do believe this information to be the most accurate found anywhere. I am also trying to verify the ‘Command Excellence Awards’ our ship earned in her 34 years of service; this has been an even bigger task. Once those are found, they will be listed here.

Please look over the ship’s proud history below, and along with the crew, commemorate this great ship and its prominent place in history.


SHIP'S HISTORY

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper.

I would like to thank my shipmates for the invaluable information provided during this multi-year research project. I was able to add to, enhance, and sometimes, even correct the ship’s history currently found online. More detailed information will be added as I go through ship's deck logs being digitized by the National Archives and Records Administration. If you can add information to a year or you think the information provided is incorrect, Email Michael.

"Personal statements from sailors onboard USS Anchorage or other ship's look like this" (37 so far).

NOTE: You will see numerous references to equator crossings, with dates and coordinates. There is an initiation rite ceremony performed for those crossing the equator for the very first time, Pollywogs. After the ceremony, a Sailor would be inducted into the "Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep", meaning that King Neptune had accepted them as one of his trusty Shellbacks. This ceremony was deemed to be a form of hazing and Navies of the world started to curtail ceremonies in the 1980's.

NOTE: While in port and/or underway, the ship would conduct a variety of drills and exercises. Helo ops, general quarters, man overboard drills (sometimes using a dummy with retrieval by ship's boat), steering casualty drills, swinging ship drills (to calibrate compass), full power runs, rescue and assistance drills, station changing exercises, fire drills, and more. These drills and/or exercises may be with a group of ships in a variety of formations (i.e., column, column open order, line-abreast, diamond, etc.) or USS Anchorage would detach from formation to perform independently, before returning to formation. Guide ship responsibilities and officer in tactical command (OTC) would be transferred between ships.

1965-1970 | 1971-1974 | 1975-1979 | 1980-1984 | 1985-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000-2010

29 JUN 1965 - AWARD DATE

A contract was awarded to build USS Anchorage. When a vessel gets named, numbered, and congressionally approved, it is added to the Naval Vessel Register, however it is not considered awarded until the official construction contract.

Anchorage was laid down in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp.
Keel laid.

13 MAR 1967 - KEEL LAID

5 MAY 1968 - LAUNCHED

Mrs. Virginia Nicholson Heyward, wife of Vice Admiral Alexander S. Heyward, Jr., sponsored the christening.

“I was assigned a room at a local boarding house. I maintained all shipboard radar. Our main job in Pascagoula was prepping the ship for commissioning. Checking in all the equipment - setting up the ET shop and electronic spaces. The ship builders and yard crew did everything else. They along with the skeleton ship’s crew sailed us to Portsmouth, VA. Being on the ship while still under construction at Pascagoula shipyard was interesting. Yard workers had access to the ship’s PA system. Sometimes the language got colorful and with that southern accent - provided a lot of humor for the day!” ETR3 R. Lagowski (12/68-10/70)

20 FEB 1969 - DELIVERY DATE

USS Anchorage was officially delivered from the builder to the U.S. Navy. The construction contract is not necessarily fulfilled as there are still sea trials and possible repairs or modifications to be made. Sea trials and any post construction shakedowns are conducted by the Navy with a Navy crew and therefore requires the vessel to be in Navy custody.

15 MAR 1969 - COMMISSIONED

With assistance from Navy tugs YT 365, YT 730, and YT 150, the ship was moved to Dry Dock 4 on March 21 and ...
First water, moved to Dry Dock 4.

USS Anchorage was moored starboard side Berth 2 and commissioned March 15 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. Commanding Officer is CAPT Percy Stuart Beaman. The ship’s first watch was set, and a 15-gun salute was fired. VADM Luther C. Heinz, Commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet was onboard.

With assistance from Navy tugs YT 365, YT 730, and YT 150, the ship was moved to Dry Dock 4 on March 21 and water started to be pumped out at 0950. It rested on keel blocks at 1059. At 1300, the Hull Board, consisting of Executive Officer CDR Robert F. Connally, LT Robert J. Payne, LT Carl S. Clock, and WO1 Robert T. Finney, convened to inspect the underwater hull. Conditions were satisfactory except for minor scratching starboard side below bilge keel, frames 50-195, disturbed paint only; wood scraps found in No. 2 condenser overboard valve, probable cause of leak; starboard bilge keel indented in two places, approximately three inches in depth, frame 132; and zincs approximately 10 percent deteriorated.

On April 4, the Captain conducted an inspection of mess decks, galley, CPO galley, wardroom, and Commanding Officer's pantry. On April 12, a fire main supply line from the dock ruptured and was repaired. All hull openings were inspected on April 14, before the dry dock flooding started at 0915. The ship cleared her keel blocks at 1320 and with the assistance from Navy tugs YT 536, YT 347, YT 365, and YT 768, was moved back to starboard side Berth 2.

At 2248 May 1, fuel oil barge YO 263 tied-up port side and started loading fuel. Fueling was completed at 0152 May 2. On May 5, YO 227 loaded fuel from 1655 to 2015. With assistance from Navy tugs YT 768 and YT 536, the ship was moved to change camels on May 6. That evening, the ship took on fuel from YO 177. The Commanding Officer conducted inspections of messing facilities and crew personnel on May 9. Dock trials were performed on May 21. On May 24, the ship’s status changed from ‘In Commission Special’ to ‘In Commission’.

USS Anchorage got underway May 26, for the degaussing station, mooring there at 0636. Degaussing cables were rigged at 0950 and degaussing was completed at 1750, with cables unrigged at 1935. The ship got underway the afternoon of May 27 for ammunition loading at Explosive Anchorage EX-1 Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Virginia, anchoring there about an hour later. The ship loaded 1729 rounds 3”/50 caliber ammunition from YFN 305 (Covered Lighter). Civilian technicians came onboard to test the weapons system. On May 28, the ship loaded an additional 820 rounds 3”/50 caliber variable timed (VT) ammunition; 2751 rounds 3”/50 caliber variable timed non-fragmentation ammunition; 328 rounds 3”/50 caliber training ammunition; 58,969 rounds of small arms ammunition; and 1468 rounds pyrotechnics including Very pistol rounds, smoke floats, and smoke pots. After loading, the ship got underway for Charleston, South Carolina, mooring portside Pier Lima 3A, Naval Station Charleston on May 29. The ship took on 73,024 gallons of Navy Standard/Special Fuel Oil (NSFO).

AUTEC (Atlantic Underseas Test and Evaluation Center) offers underwater testing, in-air test facilities, and support to U.S., Canadian, British, NATO, and other military and civilian organizations
Standardization tests.

USS Anchorage got underway with assistance from Navy tug YT 527 on June 2, enroute to Andros Island, Bahamas Islands. Once the ship departed Charleston, it would begin standardization tests which evaluate every facet of an amphibious warship. On June 4, the ship was steaming independently near the Bahamas Islands. On June 5, the LCPL (Landing Craft Personnel Large) was transferred from the well deck to the port side Welin Davit. Standardization tests continued while steaming off Andros Island on June 6, when Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) personnel boarded from AUTEC 58. AUTEC offers underwater testing, in-air test facilities, and support to U.S., Canadian, British, NATO, and other military and civilian organizations. On June 7, the ship moored port side of Pier 4, Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On June 8, the ship got underway enroute back to Andros Island. USS Anchorage proceeded to Site 1, AUTEC, Andros Island on June 9. The ship started its journey back to Norfolk, Virginia on June 10. The ship expended 36 rounds 3”/50 caliber blind loaded and tracer (BL&T) ammunition while at general quarters. On June 12, Navy tug YT 765 pulled alongside, and the ship moored port side Pier 5, Berth 52, Naval Station, Norfolk. The ship took on fuel from the pier June 17. More fuel was loaded, and cars were loaded on June 18. Navy tug YT 758 came alongside, and the ship got underway for Annapolis, Maryland on June 24, anchoring at Anchorage Delta at the Severn River entrance. Floating derrick YD 150 pulled alongside to load three 44’ yawls on June 25. On June 26, steaming independently, the ship got underway for Norfolk, anchoring at Anchorage North Delta, Hampton Roads a little over nine hours later. Shortly after anchorage, floating derrick YD 214 and Navy tug YT 758 tied up starboard side to load a Ryan FR Fireball airplane. Once the airplane was loaded, the ship got underway for Mayport, Florida. With assistance from Navy tugs YT 404 and YT 523, USS Anchorage moored starboard side to Berth C3, Mayport on June 28. A few hours later, USS Luce (DLG 7) tied up portside. On June 30, the ship moved and tied-up to the port side of USS Kaskaskia (AO 23).

On July 1, with assistance from Navy tugs YT 549 and YT 403, the ship got underway for Port Everglades, Commander Fleet Air Jacksonville (COMFAIRJAX) operating area. Steaming independently, the ship expended 187 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTNF ammunition while at general quarters. With assistance from tugs Hollywood and Everglades, the ship moored port side to Pier 7, Berth 25, Port Everglades on July 2. On July 7, with assistance from tugs Hollywood and Everglades, the ship, steaming independently, got underway for the Panama Canal. On July 15, the ship anchored at Anchorage C2, Colon, Panama Canal Zone Harbor. USS Anchorage got underway for Naval Station Rodman, on July 16. Operational control was transferred to Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) and the ship was steaming as part of Task Unit 16.8.5. That same day, with assistance from tug Hugh Rodman, the ship moored starboard side to Pier 1, Naval Station Rodman, Canal Zone Panama.

Tug Hugh Rodman assisted with the ship getting underway on July 18, enroute to San Diego. On July 26, with the assistance from Navy tug YT 374, the ship moored starboard side to Pier 5, Berth 55, Naval Station San Diego. On July 29, YON 91 was coming alongside for refueling, when it hit port side aft of the ship, causing slight damage.

USS Anchorage conducted final acceptance trials August 11-12 in international waters and while anchored at Anchorage 147, Coronado Roads. On August 12, with assistance from Navy tugs YT 701 and YT 405, the ship retuned to Pier 5, Berth 55 in San Diego. With assistance from Navy tug YT 701, the ship got underway and moored both fore and aft to Buoys 23 and 24 in San Diego Bay from August 22 to September 2. On that day, and for most of September, the ship was in and out of San Diego Bay conducting a variety of drills and exercises during fleet training exercises.

On September 2, the ship left San Diego Bay, returned to a mooring just off Harbor Island at Anchorage 212, then left San Diego Bay again. The ship was in and out of San Diego Bay three times September 3-4, then remained in international waters for the next three days. While at general quarters three times on September 5, the ship expended a total of 265 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTNF ammunition and 68 high explosive projectiles with 68 full service smokeless powder cartridges. The ship returned to San Diego Bay and with assistance from Navy tug YT 763, moored to Buoys 23 and 24 September 7. Navy tug YT 772 assisted getting underway September 8, and on that day, while at general quarters, the ship expended 170 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTNF ammunition and 12 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF ammunition. On September 9, USS Anchorage expended 68 rounds 3”/50 caliber BL&P ammunition during general quarters, returned to San Diego Bay Anchorage 212, then got underway for international waters. The ship was operating with USS El Dorado (LCC 11), USS Ogden (LPD 5), and USCGC Washusett (WHEC 44) in formation with Task Unit 54.1.6 on September 10. On September 11, the ship returned to San Diego Bay, Harbor Island Anchorage 213 and departed once again. USS Anchorage was operating independently on September 12 and conducted underway refueling exercises with USS Platte (AO 24) before Navy tug YT 774 assisted with mooring back at Buoys 23 and 24. The ship stayed at this anchorage through September 15. On that day, Navy tug YT 782 assisted with getting underway and after entering international waters, the ship expended 20 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTNF ammunition and 121 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF ammunition while at general quarters. The ship returned to San Diego Bay for a brief time, then returned to international waters. After a couple of days in international waters, USS Anchorage returned to San Diego Bay on September 17. That same day, the ship left San Diego Bay, returned to Anchorage 213, then returned to international waters to conduct high line exercises with USS Ogden (LPD 5). On September 18, the ship conducted towing exercises, both towing and being towed, with USS Platte (AO 24), before returning to a mooring at Buoys 23 and 24, with assistance from Navy tug YT 763. On September 19, USS Anchorage departed San Diego Bay to conduct Battle Problem Exercises before returning to Anchorage 212 just off Harbor Island. About an hour later, the ship then moved to a mooring starboard side Pier 8, Berth 81 where it remained until moving to Pier 8, Berth 86 on October 7.

On October 13, the ship moved to a mooring at Buoys 53 and 54, where it lowered its stern gate, conducted amphibious training exercises, and took on LCMs. After loading, Navy tug YT 764 assisted with getting underway enroute to Del Mar, California. On October 14, the ship anchored at Anchorage 300 off Camp Del Mar, ballasted down, took on LVTs, and conducted multiple amphibious landings with the LCMs and LVTs. After the LCMs were back onboard, the ship got underway for Anchorage 172 off Coronado Roads. USS Anchorage conducted multiple amphibious landings with the LCMs October 15-16, even leaving and returning to Anchorage 172. After more amphibious landing exercises on October 17, the ship returned to a mooring port side Pier 8, Berth 86. The ship returned to Coronado Roads anchoring right flank Boat Lane 4 on October 20. Multiple amphibious landing exercises were held each day through October 24, when the ship returned to a port side mooring at Pier 8, Berth 86. USS Anchorage took on 26,292 gallons of JP5 from YOG 88 on October 28.

The ship got underway steaming independently to San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Mare Island, Vallejo, California on October 29, for post-shakedown availability. On October 30, while enroute, the ship expended an ‘unknown number’ of rounds 3”/50 caliber BL&P ammunition, an ‘unknown number’ of rounds 3”/50 caliber VTNF ammunition, and an ‘unknown number’ of rounds 3”/50 caliber high explosive proximity ordinance (HEPO) ammunition while at general quarters. Navy tugs YT 759 and YT 180 assisted with mooring at Pier 2, Berth 1 Mare Island on October 31. The ship offloaded all stored ammunition and moved to a starboard side mooring to a pier at Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot to offload fuel. The ship completed offloading 320,368 gallons of fuel on November 1. On that day, the ship moved to a mooring starboard side Pier 21, Berth 21 South at Mare Island. On November 4, with Navy tug YTM 777 tied portside aft and YTM 190 portside amidships, the ship was moved to Dry Dock 3. USS Anchorage crossed the dry dock sill at 0907, water was pumped out, and the ship rested on keel blocks at 1056.

USS Anchorage would remain on keel blocks until December 29, when hull inspections were conducted before leaving dry dock. Flooding commenced at 1110, stopped at 1130, started at 1230, and stopped at 1245. All spaces were inspected for watertight integrity before flooding started again at 1305. The ship cleared keel blocks at 1312, with the stern crossing the sill at 1505 and the bow crossing at 1520. With assistance from YTM 190 and YTM 270, the ship was moved to a starboard side mooring at Berth 19, Mare Island. USS anchorage remained at Berth 19 until January 7.

BACK TO 1965

1970

DEPLOYMENT - JANUARY to MARCH

DEPLOYMENT - MAY to DECEMBER

INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE CROSSING at LATITUDE 24° 0' 30" LONGITUDE 180° 0' 0" on MAY 12

INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE CROSSING at LATITUDE 34° 50' 0" LONGITUDE 180° 0' 0" on DECEMBER 4

USS Anchorage was docked at Berth 19, San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Mare Island, Vallejo, California until January 7. On that day, the ship was moved to Pier 35, Naval Ammunition Depot, Mare Island, where the ship loaded ammunition and ship’s vehicles, then set course for San Diego, arriving January 9, and mooring starboard side Pier 5, Berth 55. USS Anchorage took on 255,483 gallons of fuel from fuel oil barge YO-202 on January 12. On January 19, the ship got underway for ballasting operations in international waters, returning to Pier 5, Berth 55, later that same day. The ship took on fuel January 28. On January 29, USS Anchorage loaded 29,820 rounds of .50 caliber linked machine gun ammunition, 25 hand grenades with MK2 fuses, 25 hand grenades with MK3A2 fuses, and 50,000 rounds of .30 caliber linked machine gun ammunition from Naval Supply Center, San Diego, Pt. Loma Annex. On January 31, the ship departed for Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam to transport Marine Corps personnel back to the United States as part of Operation Keystone Blue Jay, a planned withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam.

On February 1, USS Anchorage and USS Monticello (LSD 35) rendezvoused with Task Unit 16.8.1 which included USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Alamo (LSD 33). On February 5, the ship pulled alongside portside of USS Kawishiwi (AO 146) for refueling about 40 miles north of Pearl Harbor. On February 11, the ship detached from formation along with USS Alamo (LSD 33) to proceed on to Da Nang. On February 12, the ships came under operational control of Commander Seventh Fleet Task Unit 70.0.4. On February 13, the ship expended 40 rounds 3”/50 caliber variable timed fragmentation (VTF) ammunition during a general quarters exercise. On February 17, the ship pulled alongside portside of USS Mattaponi (AO 41) for refueling. On February 19, the ship moored starboard side at Pier 2, Da Nang and loaded personnel and equipment of the Marine 7th Motor Battalion. USS Anchorage then got underway for Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines rendezvousing with Task Unit 70.0.5.

With assistance from Navy tugs YT 521 and YT 797, USS Anchorage moored starboard side of USS Alamo (LSD 33), outboard of USS Jason (AR 8), at Alava Pier, Subic Bay on February 21. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period February 18-21. On February 23, the ship took on fuel from YO 116 and fresh water from water barge YW 103, then more fuel from YO 264. On February 24, with assistance from Navy tugs YT 369 and YT 370, the ship got underway enroute to Del Mar, California. While underway the ship evaded Typhoon Nancy off the Philippines. On February 26, the ship transited the Mindoro Strait, Tablas Strait, and entered Tiaco Pass. On March 3, USS Anchorage expended 50 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF ammunition during a general quarters exercise and operational control switched from Seventh Fleet Task Unit 70.0.5 back to First Fleet Task Unit 16.9.4.

Radar showed San Clemente Island at 0510 March 12, and the ship anchored off Camp Del Mar at 0957. While offloading the well deck, a Marine M54 truck and trailer with gears disengaged, were lost in seven fathoms of water after being struck by an LCU (Landing Craft Utility). Later that evening the ship got underway enroute to San Diego, mooring portside Pier 8, Berth 86, just after midnight, on March 13. The ship took on fuel later that day. On March 16, a YC (barge) tied up starboard side and on March 17, YO 200 tied up starboard side for refueling. A pre-deployment material inspection by Commander Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 5 staff took place on March 23. On March 26, divers removed cofferdam from lube oil cooler sea suction inlet.

COMPHIBRON 5 was attached to ship April 3-15. USS Peoria (LST 1183) tied-up starboard side on April 10. USS Anchorage loaded 200 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF and 3,186 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition on April 16. USS Peoria (LST 1183) pushed away from the ship on April 20, and USS Anchorage got underway for local operations. On April 22, while at general quarters in the local operating area, the ship expended 125 rounds 3"/50 caliber variable timed non-fragmentation (VTNF), 50 rounds 3"/50 caliber variable timed point detonating (VTPD), and 20 rounds 3"/50 caliber blind loaded and plugged (BL&P) ammunition. On April 23, the ship returned to San Diego and moored portside Pier 8, Berth 86. The ship got underway on April 24, anchoring at Anchorage 174 off Coronado Roads for several hours before returning to Pier 8, Berth 86.

USS Anchorage got underway for Pearl Harbor and the Western Pacific on May 1 as part of Amphibious Squadron Five, which became the first 20 knot Amphibious Squadron. That same day, the ship expended 134 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF and 85 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTNF ammunition during anti-air warfare exercises (AAWEX) while at general quarters. The ship was steaming as part of Task Unit 16.8.1 along with USS Okinawa (LPH 3), USS Mobile (LKA 115), and USS Duluth (LPD 6). On May 4, the ship expended 47 rounds 3”/50 caliber BL&P and 48 rounds 3"/50 caliber armor piercing incendiary (API) ammunition while at general quarters. USS Anchorage moored portside to Naval Supply Center Fuel Pier, Berth H-1, Pearl Harbor to take on Navy Standard/Special Fuel Oil (NSFO) on May 6. The ship got underway for Johnston Atoll on May 9, anchoring there May 11. Four LCM-6 landing craft were unloaded on May 11, and after unloading, the ship got underway, steaming independently, for Yokosuka, Japan. USS Anchorage crossed the International Date Line on May 12. The ship rendezvoused with Task Unit 16.8.1 on May 16, and operational control was changed from First Fleet to Seventh Fleet with designation changing to Task Unit 70.0.4. USS Anchorage performed a lightline transfer with USS Mobile (LKA 115). After maneuvering to avoid shipping, USS Anchorage entered Tokyo Bay and moored starboard side Floating Pier, Berth 11, Naval Station, Yokosuka. On May 20, the ship loaded 52 rounds 3"/50 caliber armor piercing (AP) ammunition, 100 rounds 3"/50 caliber blind loaded and tracer (BL&T) ammunition, and 150 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTNF ammunition from a Naval Ordinance Depot vehicle. On May 25, the ship took on fuel from YO 47. The ship got underway for Okinawa on May 27, anchoring off Kin Red Beach, Chin Wan Bay on May 29, and loaded 1st Battalion 9th Marines. On May 30, the ship got underway for Buckner Bay, Okinawa, anchoring at White Beach a few hours later.

On June 1, the ship was assigned to Amphibious Ready Group ALPHA and Task Group 76.4. The ship got underway June 2, for Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines steaming in company with USS Mobile (LKA 115) and USS Duluth (LPD 6). USS Anchorage anchored at Anchorage C-17, Subic Bay, on June 4, then loaded ammunition and took on fuel from YO 264. On June 5, the ship loaded YLLC 5 (Light Salvage Lift Craft), YDB 1 (Diving Boat), and CSB 3 (Combat Support Boat) in the well deck. The ship got underway for Vung Tau, Republic of Vietnam, on June 6, with operational control under Carrier Task Group (CTG) 76.4. The ship anchored at Anchorage F-14, Vung Tau Harbor, on June 8, and after several hours the ship got underway for Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam. In the early hours of June 9, the ship anchored at Anchorage 41, Cam Ranh Bay and less than two hours later, was underway for Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. The ship anchored at Anchorage 15, Da Nang early evening, then after a few hours, got underway for An Thoi, Republic of Vietnam, anchoring June 11. Before anchoring, several ship's personnel were transferred by ship's boat to the USS Krishna (ARL 38) and USS Edson (DD 946). While anchored off An Thoi, the ship’s .50 caliber machine gun mounts 51, 52, 53, 54,55, and 56 were manned and the ship’s LCVP or LCM-6 were used for security patrols around the ship. On June 12, the ship’s crew were called to general quarters because of bubbles sighted astern of USS Tutuila (ARG 4) which was anchored nearby. Bubbles could be a sign of North Vietnamese divers planting explosives. On June 14, the ship got underway for Vung Tau, anchoring at Anchorage B-12, then got underway for Qui Nhon. The ship anchored at Anchorage B-3 off Qui Nhon on June 15, then got underway for Vung Tau, anchoring at Anchorage B-12 on June 16. After several hours, the ship got underway for Subic Bay. Later that day the ship commenced small arms firing exercises, expending 50 rounds .38 special, 200 rounds .30 caliber carbine, 300 rounds M1 .30 caliber, 150 rounds .45 caliber, 50 rounds 12 gauge, 246 rounds .50 caliber, and 30 rounds .22 caliber ammunition. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period June 7-18.

USS Anchorage anchored at Anchorage F-1, Subic Bay on June 18, then moved to a mooring port side of USS Chara (AE 31) at Riviera Pier, Berths 11 and 12. On June 20, the ship took on 369,242 gallons of fuel from YO 264. On June 21, the ship moved to an anchorage 550 yards from the fuel pier, where LCU 1629, LCM-8s 916 and 859 were unloaded from the well deck. That same day the ship moved to an anchorage at right flank Green Beach, then got underway for local operations. On June 22, the ship returned to right flank Green Beach, held amphibious landing exercises, then got underway for local operations. On June 23, while at general quarters, the ship commenced firing at a surface target, expending 19 rounds 3”/50 caliber BL&P and 102 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTF ammunition. Later that day, the ship held AAWEX, expending 50 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF and 33 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTNF ammunition. USS Anchorage returned to right flank Green Beach to conduct amphibious landing exercises on June 24. The ship then got underway to launch LVTs (Landing Vehicle Tank), and after launching, returned to an anchorage off Green Beach, before getting underway again for local operations. On June 25, steaming independently, the ship rendezvoused with USS Carpenter (DD 825) to perform anti-submarine warfare exercises (ASWEX). USS Anchorage began its journey to the Republic of Vietnam, for local operations. The ship pulled alongside portside of USS Mattaponi (AO 146) for refueling on June 26. On June 28, while at general quarters, the ship held AAWEX, having expended 81 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTNF and 57 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTF ammunition. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period June 26-28. The ship returned to an anchorage in Subic Bay June 29. USS Anchorage got underway for Sasebo, Japan as part of Task Unit 76.4 on June 30.

On July 1, USS Anchorage pulled alongside starboard side of USS Niagara Falls (AFS 3) for underway replenishment (UNREP) to receive stores. The ship moored starboard side to Berth India 2, Sasebo, Japan on July 3. On July 4, with assistance from Navy tugs YT 415 and YT 779, the ship moved to Berth India 1. The ship took on fuel July 9. On July 10, the ship took on 104,363 gallons of fuel from a barge portside. USS Anchorage got underway for Subic Bay July 15. On July 19, the ship anchored at Anchorage Gulf 2, Subic Bay, then later that same day, the ship moved to another anchorage, where it took on 111,463 gallons of fuel from YO-110.

July 21 was a typical day for the crew while deployed. Underway for Green Beach at 0827, order for away all boats given at 0930, wave six touched down at 1036, anchored off Green Beach at 1050, order for away all boats was given again at 1345, wave six touched down at 1451, underway for local operations at 1625, anchored off Green Beach again at 1923, and underway for local operations at 2145. On July 22, back at Subic Bay, the ship conducted more amphibious landings before anchoring off Green Beach to load Marine Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/9. Several hours after loading was completed, the ship got underway for littoral waters off the Republic of Vietnam, as part of Task Group 76.4.

After sighting Mui Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam early morning July 25, the ship performed UNREP with USS Sacramento (AOE 1). On July 26, the ship started its journey back to Subic Bay, anchoring there early morning July 27. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period July 23-27. After taking on fuel, USS Anchorage got underway for independent night steaming in the local operating area. On the morning of July 28, the ship conducted modified shore bombardment at Tabones Naval Gun Fire Impact Area, expending 50 rounds 3”/50 caliber AP ammunition and held AAWEX, having fired 17 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF and 31 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTNF ammunition. After live-fire exercises, the ship started its journey to Kin Red Beach, Okinawa, anchoring there early in the morning July 31. USS Anchorage off-loaded Marine BLT 1/9, loaded Marine BLT 2/9, then got underway and moored portside Bravo Pier at Buckner Bay that same day.

The ship took on fuel oil August 2. On August 5, CDR F.H. Briggs USNR relieved CDR R.F. Connelly III as Executive Officer. USS Anchorage got underway on August 6, enroute to the Republic of Vietnam to conduct local operations, rendezvousing with Task Group 76.4, which consisted of USS Okinawa (LPH 3), USS Mobile (LKA 115), and USS Duluth (LPD 6). On August 10, the ship stationed starboard side of USS Sacramento (AOE 1) for refueling and took on 109,914 gallons of NSFO. On the evening of August 10, the ship changed course for a return to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, arriving August 12. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period August 9-12. After a few trips in/out of Subic Bay and two days in the local operating area, the ship returned to Subic Bay August 14 to perform Philippines Bilateral Exercise (PHIBLEX) before anchoring right flank Green Beach. After more PHIBLEX, USS Anchorage got underway for local operations. On August 15, the ship returned to Subic Bay, held PHIBLEX, anchored back at right flank Green Beach, then got underway to rendezvous with elements of Task Group 76.4. In late afternoon, the ship got underway again, this time enroute to Paluan Bay, Mindoro.

On August 16, the ship detached from formation to enter Paluan Bay and anchored for a brief time before getting underway for local operations. USS Anchorage entered Subic Bay on August 17. After just a few hours at Anchorage F-1, the ship was underway once more for local operations, returning to Anchorage F-1 on August 18. After a few hours, the ship moved and moored starboard side to Alava Pier, Berths 5 and 6, Naval Station Subic Bay Ship Repair Facility, for upkeep. On August 19, the ship took on 146,009 gallons of fuel. On August 21, the ships LCPL (Landing Craft Personnel Large) damaged its hull and propeller shaft after an issue with the boat davit. On August 26, USS Guadalupe (AO 32) tied up portside. On August 29, the ship pulled away from the pier, USS Guadalupe (AO 32) cast off, and the USS Anchorage proceeded to Anchorage E-19. On August 30, the ship departed for Tabones Naval Gun Fire Impact Area, where the ship expended 33 rounds 3”/50 caliber AP ammunition. USS Anchorage returned to Subic Bay later that day, anchoring at Anchorage C-4. On the morning of August 31, the ship moved its anchorage to Green Beach and in late afternoon, transited a simulated mine field while underway for local operations.

On September 1, the ship was within the local operating area along with Task Group 76.4 consisting of USS Okinawa (LPH 3), USS Mobile (LKA 115), and USS Duluth (LPD 6). In the morning, ASWEX were held, and in the afternoon, AAWEX. On September 2, the ship was steaming independently in assigned SNOOPEX station, operating with the Task Group, and later rendezvoused with the remainder of Task group 76.4, USS Lloyd Thomas (DD 764) and USS Buchanan (DDG 14). After ASWEX, the ship steamed independently to conduct AAWEX within the SNOOPEX operating area. On September 3, the ship returned to Subic Bay, anchoring at Anchorage C-4 first, then moving to Anchorage E-21. On September 4, YW 859 pulled alongside portside to deliver 9,300 gallons of potable water and after departing, YO 257 pulled alongside. On September 5, the ship got underway for a move to Anchorage F-1, but instead returned to Anchorage E-21.

On October 2, a landing craft punctured a 27” x 14” hole in the portside of the well deck. Just 19 months from commissioning, the Commanding Officer wanted to know who poked a hole in his brand-new ship.
27” x 14” hole.

On September 7, the ship got underway for Hong Kong. On September 9, the ship pulled alongside starboard side of USS Ashtabula (AO 51) for refueling. On September 10, the ship detached from formation to enter Junk Bay, Hong Kong and moored at buoy A-36. USS Anchorage got underway on September 12 to avoid incoming Typhoon Georgia, returning to a Hong Kong anchorage September 14. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period September 12-15. On September 19, the ship started its journey back to Subic Bay, arriving September 21. Once amphibious landings were completed, USS Anchorage anchored at right flank Green Beach. After just a few hours the ship moved to Ammo Anchorage G-4, moved to an anchorage near mooring Buoy 19, then steamed independently to Puluan Bay, Mindoro, anchoring there early morning September 22. That same day, the ship got underway for a return to a Subic Bay anchorage. The ship took on fuel September 23.

From September 24 to October 8, USS Anchorage traveled between Subic Bay and Cam Ranh Bay, Vung Tau and Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam multiple times, carrying various small craft. The ship was at Anchorage 43 at Baie de Binh Ba, Cam Ranh Bay September 26, Anchorage E-5 Vung Tau September 27, and Subic Bay on September 29. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period September 25-29. On October 1, Helicopter 150154 was damaged both fore and aft after a gripe got loose while being shifted. On October 2, a landing craft punctured a 27” x 14” hole in the portside of the well deck. Just 19 months from commissioning, the Commanding Officer wanted to know who poked a hole in his brand-new ship.

USS Anchorage was at Anchorage 37 Da Nang October 2, Anchorage F-1 Subic Bay October 4, Anchorage 24 Da Nang October 6, and Anchorage F-1 Subic Bay October 8. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the periods October 1-3 and October 5-7. Later on October 8 the ship moved to a mooring starboard side of USS Duluth (LPD 6) at Alava Pier, Berths 2 and 3. On October 9, while backing away from being moored starboard side of USS Duluth (LPD 6), USS Anchorage smashed starboard side life raft racks and port side of USS Duluth (LPD 6), causing minor damage on both ships. The ship then moored starboard side to USS Ashtabula (AO 51) at Alava Pier, Berths 4 and 5. On October 10, USS Anchorage had an almost three-hour informal inspection by RADM Rubel, Commander Task Force 76, Seventh Fleet. The ship took on 74,955 gallons of fuel from YO 257 on October 11.

On October 13, the ship moved to an anchorage 300 yards south of Buoy 19. Later that same day the ship got underway to avoid Typhoon Kate. The ship returned to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines October 15 and anchored 1500 yards west of Anchorage G-4, later moving to an anchorage 400 yards from Buoy 19, then getting underway for local operations. On early morning October 16, the ship proceeded independently to Quarantine Anchorage, Manila Bay, and after a few hours moved to Anchorage 26. The ship got underway October 19 for Puluan Bay, Mindoro, returning to Anchorage C-12, Green Beach, Subic Bay October 20. That same day the ship got underway enroute to an area near the San Bernardino Straits, Philippines.

The ship was operating in the area of Lagonoy Gulf, Philippines on October 23 and southeastern Luzon, Philippines October 24, then got underway for a return to Subic Bay, entering the San Bernardino Straits that evening. While in the area of Lagonoy Gulf, the ship conducted relief operations for victims of Typhoons Joan and Kate. USS Anchorage, along with USS Okinawa (LPH 3), USS Duluth (LPD 6), and helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164, flew 70 relief sorties and delivered 65 tons of supplies in five days of operations. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps medical teams treated over 1,000 patients. USS Anchorage anchored 650 yards southeast of Buoy 19, Subic Bay on October 26.

On October 27, the ship got underway for Chi-Lung, Taiwan, anchoring there October 29. On October 31, the ship was made ready to maneuver in order to keep anchored USS Goldsborough (DDG 20) from swinging into USS Anchorage. No maneuver was necessary. On November 1, steaming independently, the ship proceeded to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, anchoring at Anchorage AV November 2. After several hours, the ship got underway and on November 3, rendezvoused with USS Okinawa (LPH 3) and was joined later by USS Duluth (LPD 6). The ship pulled alongside starboard side of USS Camden (AOE 2) for refueling on November 5. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period November 5-6.

On November 7, the ship detached from formation enroute to Subic Bay, and after arriving early morning, amphibious landings took place before anchoring. After several hours, the ship got underway for local operations before returning to a Subic Bay anchorage late morning, then moving to another anchorage. On November 8, the ship moved to a mooring portside Riviera Pier, Berths 14 and 15, where she remained until November 17. On that day, the ship moved to a mooring 300 yards south of Buoy 19 to load LCU’s. On November 18, the ship got underway for Buckner Bay, Okinawa as part of COMPHIBRON 5, Task Group 76.9 which also included USS Okinawa (LPH 3) and USS Duluth (LPD 6).

On November 20, the ship conducted AAWEX, having expended 12 rounds 3”/50 caliber VTF and 90 rounds 3"/50 caliber VTNF ammunition. After shooting exercises, the ship detached from formation and proceeded to the northeast quadrant of a 15-mile radius circle operating area. USS Okinawa (LPH 3) was in the southwest quadrant and USS Duluth (LPD6) was in the southeast quadrant. USS Anchorage anchored in the designated anchorage at Oura Wan Bay, Okinawa on November 21, and after just a few hours the ship got underway for Chin Red Beach, Okinawa, anchoring there early afternoon. On November 22, Marines and ammunition were offloaded, then the ship steamed independently to Buckner Bay, anchoring a few hours later at White Beach. COMPHIBRON 5 shifted his flag to USS Anchorage and while preparing to get underway, the forecastle reported a sheered anchor pin on the chain to starboard anchor. The anchor was walked out to the bottom, released, and marked with two buoys. On November 23, the ship got underway and steamed independently to Yokosuka, Japan. While underway, various drills and exercises were conducted while being observed by COMPHIBRON 5 staff. The ship moored starboard side to Floating Pier, Berth 11 on November 24, and COPMPHIBRON 5 flag shifted to USS Okinawa (LPH 3). The ship underwent an almost three-hour inspection of personnel and spaces by COMPHIBRON 5 on November 27. USS Anchorage got underway for San Diego on November 29.

USS Anchorage was steaming in company with USS Okinawa (LPH 3) and USS Duluth (LPD 6) as part of Task Group 70.0.7 on December 1. Operational control switched from Seventh Fleet Task Unit 70.0.7 to First Fleet Task Unit 16.9.1 on December 2. USS Anchorage crossed the International Date Line on December 4. The ship detached from formation and anchored 400 yards northwest of B Street Pier, San Diego on December 10, after having traveled over 42,000 miles during deployment. After a few hours, the ship moved to a mooring starboard side Pier 6, Berth 61. That same day, Pepper Tank Cleaning Company was called to remove approximately 500 gallons of NSFO on the pier and in the water because of personal error by duty oil king. The ship’s crew was also used to assist with pier clean-up and all work was completed December 11. On December 12, USS El Dorado (LCC 11) tied up portside.

BACK TO 1965

1971-1972

DEPLOYMENT - FEBRUARY 1971 to MAY 1971

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 00" LONGITUDE 164° 30' 0" W on MARCH 2, 1971

DEPLOYMENT - OCTOBER 1971 to JULY 1972

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 00" LONGITUDE 105° 30' 0" E on FEBRUARY 9, 1972

We were told to watch for bubbles alongside.
Sapper watch Da Nang Harbor 1971.

USS Anchorage remained in availability until February 20, 1971, when she got underway for Port Hueneme, California. At Port Hueneme, the ship loaded construction materials for a communications center to be built on the island of Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago as a part of Operation Reindeer Station. She left the California coast on February 22 bound for Australia, making port calls at Sydney and Perth. The ship crossed the equator on March 2. On March 25 in Perth, CAPT Cyrus Albert Rank relieved CAPT Percy Stuart Beaman as Commanding Officer.

USS Anchorage then proceeded to Diego Garcia, arriving April 4. The ship unloaded the construction materials, and left the next day for Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines for minor repairs and replenishment. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period April 11-12. Following a visit to Hong Kong from April 17 to 22, the ship got underway for Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, anchoring there before the weekend.

“VC & NVA sappers occasionally placed magnetic limpet mines against the hulls of ships when they were in South Vietnamese harbors. We were told to watch for bubbles alongside.” LTJG Joe O’Loughlin (11/70-4/72)

In support of Operation Keystone Robin Charlie, the ship loaded 11th Motor Transport Battalion, 1st Division Marine Corps personnel and equipment through the weekend. The equipment included 86 vehicles, and supplies which totaled 657.6 short tons and took up 16,639 square feet of space. The ship departed for the United States April 23. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period April 22-24.

USS Anchorage arrived home on May 11, and on June 28 resumed operations as a training ship for landing exercises off Seal Beach, California. These exercises were followed by refresher training July 19-29. From August 2 to 6 the ship served as Primary Control Ship for RESMAULEX (Reserve Marine Amphibious Unit Landing Exercise) which was conducted in the Southern California operation areas and Camp Pendleton. USS Anchorage was with USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Tripoli (LPH 10), USS Schenectady (LST 1185), USS Mobile (LKA 115), USS Benecia (PGM 96), and the USS Douglas (PGM 100). The exercise tested every facet of amphibious operations, landing units by surface and air assault, anti-submarine warfare drills, anti-aircraft and surface defense exercises, electronic warfare problems, communications drills, underway replenishments, shore bombardment, boat and helicopter control drills, and even ship towing.

After arriving Subic Bay in early January 1972, the ship entered dry dock USS Competent (AFDM 6) for a few days to correct some minor issues experienced on this cruise. After this period of repair work, USS Anchorage sailed for Buckner Bay on January 17.
Floating dry dock in Subic Bay.

USS Anchorage left San Diego on August 16 to depart for her namesake city, Anchorage, Alaska, where she remained from August 22 to 26. On her return, after pausing at Alameda, California, to unload aircraft, she arrived back at San Diego on September 1 and entered upkeep.

USS Anchorage departed for Hawaii on October 1 and while enroute, participated in Convoy Exercise 3-71. The ship spent two days at Pearl Harbor before continuing to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Japan. There, she rejoined ARG Alfa and embarked Marines for transportation to Subic Bay. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period October 25-26. Early in November, the ship visited Kaohsiung, Taiwan. From November 13 to 20, she shuttled landing craft between Vung Tau and Subic Bay. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the periods November 14-16 and 19-21. In early December, the ship continued local operations while off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period December 12-18. During the last part of 1971, the ship visited Sasebo, Japan, and Hong Kong for liberty calls, and carried Marines and equipment from Okinawa to Subic Bay.

After arriving Subic Bay in early January 1972, the ship entered floating dry dock USS Competent (AFDM 6) for a few days to correct some minor issues experienced on this cruise. After this period of repair work, USS Anchorage sailed for Buckner Bay on January 17 to embark Marines for transportation back to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. Late in January, the ship conducted wet-well operations at Da Nang, Qui Nhon, and Vung Tau, Republic of Vietnam, and was back in Subic Bay early February. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period January 28-February 1. After Subic Bay, the ship traveled to Singapore, crossing the equator on February 9, then headed back to Subic Bay. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the periods February 7-9 and 15-17. After leaving Subic Bay, the ship would make a trip to Kure, Japan, in early March, to participate in amphibious exercises. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period of March 21. On March 31, USS Anchorage got underway to rendezvous with Task Group 76.5, joining them in operations off the coast of Vietnam April 2-May 6. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period April 1-May 7.

The ship was at Subic Bay from May 9 to 18 and then returned to waters off Vietnam for wet-well lifts to Vung Tau, Hoi An, and Da Nang. While off Vietnam, USS Anchorage took part in Operation Song Than 6-72, meaning ‘tsunami’ in Vietnamese. The amphibious landing took place on May 24, after artillery, air, and naval gunfire strikes on Red Beach. USS Mobile departed Gulf of Tonkin on May 25, leaving her four LCM-6's (Landing Craft, Mechanized) with USS Anchorage to provide additional landing craft to support operations. Multiple LCM-6s from the USS Anchorage were called in to rescue South Vietnamese Marines from an LVT (Amphibious Vehicle, Tracked) which was dead in the water just off the beach.

One of the LCM-6 coxswains had to enter the water to attach a tow line to the stranded LVT, which was then towed back to the ship’s well deck. The rescued Marines recovered onboard before being removed by helicopter. While this rescue mission was taking place, the North Vietnamese Army was firing on U.S. Navy ships offshore. USS Anchorage was never hit; however, the ship’s recovery boats did take fire and were close enough to have been sprayed with water from exploding shells.

“I remember that day. I was a signalman assigned to a landing craft. I recall one artillery round fired at the group of ships standing off the beach. It landed harmlessly in the general vicinity of two or three vessels. I remember the geyser created on impact. The immediate response was for all ships to move further out. I suppose it was just pure luck none of the ships were hit, but we all thought it was fairly comical at the time.” SM3 Richard Brinton (2/71-1/74)

“We were called to GQ early in the morning and I believe we were going to drop Vietnamese marines ashore. We were all at our stations when all of a sudden the ships out beyond us started a barrage onto the shoreline, that finished and everything went quiet, out of nowhere the air started shaking from a B-52 run (never even saw them), everything went quiet again, out of where jets came in a did a low level run dropping napalm (that was pretty spectacular), everything went quiet again. Time for us to do our job. The Duluth was first to go (we were making a big U shape). As we started our run (we had a destroyer between us and the shore), there were three outbound shells that overshot the destroyer and landed in the water between us and the destroyer. As soon as that was noticed the destroyer turned its guns and fired multiple rounds at a mound (the guns were basically firing at point bank range, no barrel elevation). Nothing more was heard. We continued our objective, made the U-turn, and headed back out to sea. This was all quite surreal as we watched from the flight deck and fantail.” SF3 Robert Van Der Borg (10/69-9/72)

USS Anchorage earned a Combat Action Ribbon for the period of May 24 and a Vietnam Service Medal for the period May 19-June 11.

After Vietnam, the ship arrived Okinawa on June 14 to embark troops bound for the Philippines. She would arrive Subic Bay on June 20. During a series of amphibious landing exercises, the embarked troops were transferred, and the four LCM-6’s left behind in the Gulf of Tonkin were returned, to USS Mobile. USS Anchorage would then resume wet-well operations between Vung Tau and Subic Bay. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the period June 24-26 and June 29-July 1.

USS Anchorage visited Kaohsiung, Taiwan in early July, then arrived back at Subic Bay on July 8 because of a leaking rudder. While enroute, pumps ran constantly trying to empty the bilge. USS Anchorage was placed in a floating dry dock for repairs. A job that normally takes multiple days was completed in a 24-hour period, and the ship left the Philippines on July 9. The ship arrived in San Diego on July 24. On August 10, CAPT Robert Newton Congdon relieved CAPT Cyrus Albert Rank as Commanding Officer. USS Anchorage remained in port through December 4, when she got underway for independent type exercises off the southern California coast. The ship returned to San Diego on December 7 and entered a holiday leave and upkeep status.

1973-1974

DEPLOYMENT - DECEMBER 1973 to APRIL 1974

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 84° 40' 0" E on FEBRUARY 22, 1974

After local operations, USS Anchorage traveled to Seal Beach late in January 1973 to unload ammunition. The ship returned to San Diego on February 1 and began overhaul at Naval Base San Diego on February 19. During this yard work, a fire broke out on board and prolonged her stay in overhaul.

”I was on the quarter deck as Petty Officer of the Watch when the call came in. The caller reported the fire then hung up before giving a location. I had to use the PA to get him to call back. He then gave misinformation on the location because he was just out of boot camp and gave the compartment number where he was calling back from and not of the fire. It took a while to find the fire. Until they reached him, they only knew it was below, aft. The boot had been assigned to fire watch with a welder.” GM3 Glen Larsen (10/69-7/73)

On September 23, CDR Louis Pelayo Aldana relieved CDR Robert Newton Congdan as Commanding Officer, and the ship finally got underway for sea trials. Amphibious refresher training started in late October to prepare for the upcoming WESTPAC deployment. On December 8, USS Anchorage got underway, arriving at its first stop, Guam, Mariana Islands, on December 25. On December 26, the ship departed for Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines via the San Bernardino Strait, arriving January 1.

The ship started 1974 in port before getting underway for Buckner Bay, Okinawa on January 9. The rest of January had the ship underway to Pohang, South Korea January 14-16; to Iwakuni, Japan via the Shimonoseki Straits January 16-18; back to Pohang January 18-20; Pohang to Sasebo, Japan January 20-22; in port Sasebo January 22-27; back to Pohang January 28-29; and took part in Exercise Fly-A-Way while enroute to Pusan, South Korea January 29-February 1.

USS Anchorage was in Pusan February 1-4, then traveled to Subic Bay by way of Okinawa, arriving Subic February 12. On February 14, the ship got underway for Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago via the Malacca Strait via Nelson Island, crossing the equator February 22, arriving February 25. The ship would remain in Diego Garcia through March 11. She would then move on to Singapore, and after a two day stay, start the journey home March 21.

USS Anchorage would then make stops in Subic Bay March 24-27, travel to Guam Marh 28-April 3, to Pearl Harbor April 3-10, and to San Diego April 11-18. The ship traveled a total of 25,128 miles while on this deployment.

USS Anchorage entered a stand-down period which lasted through July 29. On that day she headed northward to conduct a survey mission of potential amphibious training areas in Alaska; embarked scientists surveyed ten possible landing sites. On this survey mission, helicopter number 6, from Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 267 Detachment C, completed the detachment’s 200th successful round-trip from the ship’s flight deck.

The ship visited Seattle, Washington; Nanaimo, British Columbia; and Sitka and Anchorage, Alaska, before returning to San Diego on September 5. USS Anchorage began a restricted availability in Long Beach, California on October 17. The crew generally had a four-day work week, so that those commuting to/from San Diego could spend more time with family and less time on the road. After the work was completed on December 16, she returned to her home port of San Diego for the holidays.

"As I recall the Anchorage had a 600 PSI propulsion plant until it went into dry dock in Long Beach about 1974. The engineering plant had been disassembled and hauled back to National Steel in San Diego for refurbishment where it was destroyed in a fire at the repair facility. The ship left the yard with a hybrid 1200 PSI plant. There were not enough 600 PSI parts in the supply system to rebuild the damaged unit.” LTJG Chuck Johnson (7/72-5/75)

BACK TO 1965

1975

DEPLOYMENT - MARCH to NOVEMBER

On January 6, the ship began two weeks of amphibious refresher training off the southern California coast. USS Anchorage got underway on January 28 along with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 ships USS Cleveland (LPD 7), USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39), USS Mobile (LKA 115), USS Barbour County (LST 1195), and USS Racine (LST 1191), to participate in the amphibious exercise Operation Bedstream. While off Coronado Roads, Southern California, the ship conducted live-fire exercises along with USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Canon (PG 90).

Map showing location of 18 ship formation off the coast of Vietnam.
Operation Frequent Wind 1975.

After a period of upkeep in San Diego, USS Anchorage again departed as part of Task Force 76 and PHIBRON 5, for WESTPAC on March 28. The ship was joined by USS Duluth (LPD 6), and USS Tuscaloosa (LST 1187). USS Anchorage was in Pearl Harbor April 4-6; Iwakuni and Numazu, Japan April 18-21; Okinawa Japan on April 23, and Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines on April 28. The ship, along with Marines and their equipment, anchored off the South Vietnam coast April 30 to participate in Operation Frequent Wind, originally named Operation Talon Vise. USS Anchorage earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period April 22-30 and an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal for the period April 29-30. The ship, along with USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Duluth (LPD 6), and USS Mobile (LKA 115) were designated Task Group 76.9 - Movement Transport Group Charlie. USS Anchorage provided material support to ships evacuating Vietnamese refugees. On May 2, she left the Vung Tau holding area with the other ships involved.

On May 13, the ship’s scheduled operations were interrupted by the Mayaguez incident. USS Anchorage was ordered to proceed south to provide support as needed for the rescue of the SS Mayaguez, a U.S. merchant ship that had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. Following the ship's rescue, USS Anchorage resumed her original schedule which included upkeep in Sasebo, Japan from May 24 to June 10; a visit to Keelung, Taiwan June 16-20; and a port call to Inchon, South Korea June 28-July 5. While in Inchon, on June 28, CDR Arthur St. Clair Wright relieved CDR Louis Pelayo Aldana as Commanding Officer.

For the next several months the ship would crisscross the Pacific. Along with a return to South Korea, multiple stops were made between Japan, Subic Bay, and Hong Kong. After just a few months, another change in command took place on September 1, when CDR John Robert Lund relieved CDR Arthur St. Clair Wright as Commanding Officer while at port in Hong Kong. Most of September had the ship avoiding several typhoons in the area before proceeding to Yokosuka for upkeep October 3-18. Following stops at Keelung October 25-26 and Buckner Bay, Japan October 27-28, the ship departed Okinawa on the 28th for a return to her home port.

Before heading home, USS Anchorage and six other ships of PHIBRON 5, took part in Operation Polymode (Mid-Ocean Dynamics Experiment), which ran from October 28 to November 9. Operation Polymode was a survey to collect ocean surface layer salinity and upper thermal structure data in a broad swath between Japan and Hawaii. The seven ships rendezvoused and proceeded to the study area, where they lined up abreast, 25 nautical miles apart, taking measurements every two hours.

After one last stop in Pearl Harbor November 9-10 the ship arrived in San Diego on November 16. The ship remained in port for upkeep and local operations through the end of the year.

“I was on deck when we slipped past the USS Arizona (BB 39) at sunset with the bugler blowing taps. I was on the starboard side at the edge of the flight deck. Sun fading, the lone bugler blowing those 4 mournful notes. That moment in time is one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” FTG2 Barry Dichter (11/74-2/77)

1976

Up until mid-April, USS Anchorage continued local operations off the southern California coast. From April 26 through June 17, the ship was in restricted availability in preparation for a bicentennial visit to Alaska. However, that trip was cancelled, and the ship was in port at San Diego from mid-August through December undergoing repairs. During this time, on November 24, CDR Paul Ishamel Bledsoe relieved CDR John Robert Lund as Commanding Officer.

1977

DEPLOYMENT - MARCH to NOVEMBER

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 105° 56' 0" E on JULY 25

Tests and inspections occupied USS Anchorage through mid-March before another WESTPAC deployment began on March 28. USS Anchorage stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor, then pushed on to Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, to unload cargo and vehicles. The ship also visited Guam; Subic Bay and Iloilo, Republic of the Philippines; Singapore; Hong Kong; Keelung, Taiwan; and Yokosuka, Japan. While underway in the waters south of Singapore, USS Anchorage crossed the equator on July 25.

“I will never forget my crossing experience in ‘77. How could I? I crawled on my hands and knees the entire time, had my face rubbed in grease that was spread on someone’s stomach, was submersed in a coffin of water with small drainage holes at the top, crawled through a collapsed tunnel of garbage that had been stored for weeks/months in a special locker, and pieces of firehose were used as a ‘spanking’ tool. How hard? Depended on the Shellback. I would never give up that experience.” BMSN Michael P. McGrath (5/76-/1/78)

Among the amphibious exercises in which the ship participated was Operation Fortress Lightning from October 10 to 23, held in waters near Santa Cruz, Mindanao Island, Philippines. Nearly 100 Navy and Marine Corps commands were involved in the planning of this exercise and the operational order consisted of almost 1000 pages; 30 U.S. Navy ships with thousands of Marines and 135 aircraft participated.

"While piloting the LCPL during amphibious landings, I experienced the heaviest rain ever felt. Buckets! No, I mean it felt like getting hit with buckets." BMSN Michael P. McGrath (5/76-/1/78)

”I remember that day as well. Spent most of it standing on the signal bridge watching landing craft and getting soaked. Later that evening we lost radar contact with the boats due to the pouring rain. We had to look for them using the searchlights on the signal bridge. Never saw crap, too dark and rainy.” SMSA Dennis Pard (2/77-8/80)

Just before the exercise was over, on October 21, a CH-53D dropped off a cliff and fell 400 feet into the Philippine jungle, killing 24 of the 37 onboard.

”I remember that one! Sitting in CIC and the request for body bags came over the net. Sad day.“ OS2 Curt Folstad (4/76-12/79)

Upon the conclusion of this exercise, the ship started the trip home, stopping at Guam, and Hawaii. USS Anchorage arrived San Diego on November 17 and spent the rest of the year in upkeep.

1978

USS Anchorage participated in training operations along the California coast in January. On February 20, the ship got underway for Bremerton, Washington to carry Army troops to their home base. The ship arrived back in San Diego on March 3 and began preparations for overhaul. USS Anchorage earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period March 31, 1978-May 11, 1979. On April 14 she got underway, in tow of USS Abnaki (ATF 96), for the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Overhaul started the next day. On August 29, CDR Robert Douglas Forster relieved CDR Paul Ishamel Bledsoe as Commanding Officer. Upon completion of overhaul work, the ship resumed operations and began sea trials December 13.

1979

”It was around 1979 when I was operating the port crane to cradle the ramp. BM3 Vandyke was giving the signals when all of a sudden, the hydraulics gave way and dropped the ramp in the well deck. There were 3 or 4 guys tending lines, they smartly took off running. No one was hurt. The hot hydraulic fluid burned me a bit but that was about it. We probably had every officer out on the catwalks to see what had happened. It's a pretty memorable experience to say the least.” BMSN Jeff Fisher (3/77-4/81)

USS Anchorage returned to San Diego on January 15 and through September, the ship was involved in post-overhaul maintenance and training and operated along the southern California coast holding amphibious refresher training. USS Anchorage earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period March 31, 1978-May 11, 1979. On September 24, the ship got underway to take part in Fleet Exercise 2-79/Kernel Potlatch II, a joint American-Canadian fleet exercise. Having concluded a successful amphibious landing on the northern coast of Vancouver Island, the ship made a port call at Esquimalt, British Columbia.

“We were on an amphibious exercise in the Scott islands. Seas were dangerously high. Mike boats were breached on the shore and personnel were injured.” QM3 Tim Douglas (9/77-9/79)

After debarking Marines at Camp Pendleton, USS Anchorage returned to San Diego on October 13. The ship participated in local operations and training exercises through the end of the year in preparation for a deployment in January.

BACK TO 1965

1980

DEPLOYMENT - JANUARY to JULY

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 65° 05' 0" E on MARCH 10

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 000' 0" LONGITUDE 000° 00' 0" E on MAY 4 *need coordinates

On January 4, as part of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3, USS Anchorage deployed enroute to Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor she would go on to visit Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and Guam in the Mariana Islands before arriving at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines February 6. Upon arrival, a refurbished LCU (Landing Craft, Utility) was loaded for transport to the Republic of Djibouti located on the northeast coast of East Africa near the Horn of Africa. The LCU—dubbed Le Bac de la Paix (the boat of peace) was a gift from the United States to Djibouti to enhance the country's inadequate commercial transportation system. USS Anchorage left Subic Bay on February 15 to begin her goodwill mission.

“The ships Library was in pretty bad shape, so I offered to clean and reorganize the space in return for using it in our gaming sessions. We had crew from several departments playing together. It was great to hear stories of last night's adventure in the breakfast chow line. I believe I was the first crew member with a personal computer on board, an Apple ][+. My Chief hated it, but the Ensign liked it so much he allowed me to keep it in his stateroom. I finally got chewed out by the Captain for being spotted in officer's country too often.” ET2 Harold Miller (12/79-12/80)

Steaming by way of Singapore, the ship crossed the Indian Ocean and arrived in Djibouti on March 3. USS Anchorage spent two days in Djibouti, delivering America's gift and helping to cement relations between the two governments and peoples. From Djibouti, the ship headed for Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago to deliver barges to that isolated American outpost in the middle of the Indian Ocean. USS Anchorage crossed the equator on March 10. The ship was at Diego Garcia from March 12 to 15 and then resumed her voyage back to the Philippines. USS Anchorage earned a Navy Expeditionary Medal for the period February 23-March 19. She made a stop at Penang, Malaysia, along the way and reentered Subic Bay on March 24.

“I remember QMC Felix (a plank holder) teaching me to use a sextant; our electronic nav gear sometimes put us in very strange locations.” ET2 Harold Miller (12/79-12/80)

During the three months that remained of her deployment, USS Anchorage conducted operations in surroundings more familiar to 7th Fleet ships than the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean. In early April, USS Anchorage visited Hong Kong before embarking Marine Corps units April 17-18 at Okinawa, Japan. From Okinawa, USS Anchorage sailed via Subic Bay and Singapore to Thailand where she joined elements of the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Marine Corps in amphibious training exercises. After these exercises, the ship would visit Pattaya, Thailand May 5-10. The ship made its second equator crossing on May 4, and it was rumored to be because a Marine general wanted an equator crossing listed in his record. USS Anchorage returned to Subic Bay on May 19 and remained in port until early June. On June 6, the ship got underway to return the embarked Marines to their base at Okinawa. She stopped at Naha, Okinawa, from June 10 to 12 and then returned to sea for the voyage back to the United States. The trip home included a two-day stop at Pearl Harbor June 24-26 and ended back at San Diego on July 3.

After the usual month of relative inactivity following an overseas deployment, USS Anchorage began West Coast operations early in August with a courtesy visit to Seattle, Washington for the city's annual Seafair, which is one of the largest festivals in the Northwest, reaching over two million people. Operations continued until late September when the ship returned to San Diego for two-month availability. On October 1, CDR William Robert McCann relieved CDR Robert Douglas Forster as Commanding Officer. The ship completed repairs on November 20 and resumed operations out of her homeport.

1981

DEPLOYMENT - JUNE to DECEMBER

Various training evolutions occupied her time through May and into June. On June 23, USS Anchorage departed to join the 7th Fleet in Southeast Asia.

“Right after we secured from sea and anchor detail, the XO called me to his quarters. He had a job for me since I was the new engineering log room yeoman. He said no bridge watches for me until we got to Hawaii and my work hours would be at knock off until morning. Just a little typing. Seems that the procedures book for the engine rooms was a bit out of date. So, I typed my brains out the whole trip to Hawaii. It seemed to have been very important to the propulsion plant certification.” YNSN/YNFN Michael Ball (4/79-12/82)

The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor at the beginning of July and remained in the Hawaiian Islands for the first three weeks of the month completing an oft-delayed propulsion plant certification.

“In Hawaii is when we almost flooded the #2 Main Machinery Room (MMR). The ballast tank hatch wasn't bolted down after it was opened for some reason, planned maintenance, I guess. The ship went to General Quarters because of the flooding. Tense 30 minutes. We were ballasting down and water in MMR started coming up. We stopped and ballasted back up and found the open cover in the bilges and it got bolted down. HT's took care of it. Water got to the very bottom of #2 Boiler. No damage.” BT Hank Watson (7/79-2/83)

On July 22, she resumed her voyage west. USS Anchorage stopped at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Japan on August 3 and embarked Marine Corps units for transportation to Yokosuka, Japan. Throughout her assignment with the 7th Fleet, USS Anchorage spent much of her time carrying Marines between their bases and training exercises. In some cases, the ship would participate, in others, she simply provided transportation to the exercise. The ship frequented ports in Okinawa, South Korea, and sometimes a Thai port. USS Anchorage completed her last 7th Fleet mission at Naha, Okinawa, in November, and got underway for the return to California on November 21. Enroute, she made an 11-day visit to Guam and a brief, one-day pause at Pearl Harbor, before arriving San Diego December 23.

1982

Post-deployment leave and upkeep carried USS Anchorage through January. After a brief period underway in the southern California operating area, USS Anchorage began preparations at the end of January for regular overhaul at San Diego. The actual repair and modification work began on March 1. Over the next seven months in dry dock, the ship received general repairs and upgrading throughout as well as work on her propulsion plant, modernization of her communications spaces, and an enhancement of her defense capability against anti-ship missiles. On September 25, CDR Raymond Robert Kruszona relieved CDR William Robert McCann Jr. as Commanding Officer. USS Anchorage conducted sea trials in the local operating area during the first half of November and then spent the remainder of the year in port.

1983-1984

DEPLOYMENT - SEPTEMBER 1983 to MARCH 1984

HOMEPORT CHANGED TO LONG BEACH in AUGUST 1984

USS Anchorage resumed operations out of San Diego early in 1983. In May, the ship paid a courtesy visit to her namesake city, Anchorage, Alaska. A few days after leaving Alaska, a ship’s roving patrol found a stowaway in a troop berthing mop closet. A crew member had brought a girl onboard for the return trip home and a Coast Guard helicopter was used to remove her.

After USS Anchorage returned to San Diego in the middle of June, the ship began a three-month availability in preparation for a deployment to the Western Pacific that is scheduled to start in the middle of September. Except for a period underway August 22-31, USS Anchorage was in San Diego continuously from June 11 to September 12.

On September 12, the ship got underway with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7 on her way to Southeast Asia. The usual stop at Pearl Harbor lasted from September 20 to October 2, and then USS Anchorage resumed the voyage west. The ship arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on October 14 and stayed through October 30. The ship got underway on November 1 to shuttle Marine Corps units between their bases and training exercises. On occasion, USS Anchorage would join in the exercises to practice the ship’s role as an amphibious warship. The ship’s deployment would continue through the end of 1983.

USS Anchorage returned to Yokosuka to disembark her last Marines at the end of January 1984 and remained there until the beginning of the second week in February. On February 8, USS Anchorage set out upon the first leg of the voyage back to the United States. On her way, she made stops at Guam and Pearl Harbor before arriving San Diego on March 6. Except for a brief period underway inside the port on April 17, USS Anchorage remained moored at San Diego Naval Station for almost five months performing repairs and modifications. Near the end of July, the ship began sea trials out of San Diego that lasted into the fourth week in August. On August 23 USS Anchorage made the brief passage from San Diego to her new homeport of Long Beach, California. USS Anchorage took about two weeks to get settled into her new base of operations and then embarked upon a series of training evolutions in the local operating area. Except for times in port for upkeep or repairs, drills and exercises were the routine through the remainder of 1984. On December 1, CDR Michael Dennis Quigley relieved CDR Raymond Robert Kruszona as Commanding Officer.

BACK TO 1965

1985

DEPLOYMENT - MARCH to SEPTEMBER

Upkeep was performed in the first quarter and on March 27, USS Anchorage left Long Beach for Southeast Asia. The ship stopped at Sasebo, Japan, on April 16 to pick up mail and then arrived at Pohang, South Korea, on April 17. While at Pohang, USS Anchorage embarked Marines and set sail for Okinawa, Japan on April 18.

For the next four months, the ship crisscrossed the Pacific delivering Marines to various points for combat training and returning them to their bases. USS Anchorage would sometimes join in the training to practice the ship’s role as an amphibious warship. The final group of Marines came on board at Yokohama, Japan, August 9-11 and disembarked at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on August 14. The ship began the trip home August 15.

After stopping at Pearl Harbor August 26-28, USS Anchorage arrived at Long Beach on September 4. The ship entered a post-deployment stand-down period and returned to active operations on October 10, when it would take part in local operations for the remainder of the year.

1986

Local operations continued through 1986. On December 11, CDR Michael Clark Wein relieved CDR Michael Dennis Quigley as Commanding Officer.

1987

DEPLOYMENT - JANUARY to JULY

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 151° 18' 5" on MAY 24

EQUATOR & INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 180° 0' 0" on JUNE 23

USS Anchorage departed Long Beach in January for another deployment. The ship first headed north to Alaska and while with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3 in the Bering Sea, took part in Kernel Potlatch 87. This was the first winter amphibious operation in the Aleutian Islands since World War II, and for this, USS Anchorage earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation. Afterwards, the ship would continue her journey with ports of call in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines; Okinawa, Japan; Pohang and Pusan, South Korea; Pattaya, Thailand; Hobart, Tasmania; and Pearl Harbor. During her time in the Pacific Ocean USS Anchorage also took part in Team Spirit 87, the 12th annual joint exercise with the South Korean military.

While on WESTPAC ... “I went back to rotate watches and the watch was missing. The sound-power headphones were hanging over the side and his ball cap was on the deck. This was during the early evening but dark as hell. We sounded man overboard alarm. The fleet was circling out to find him. We all had binoculars looking for him. They found him a half hour later. He was sleeping in one of the compartments below. That dude went to see the Captain.” BMSN Ron Hayes (86-7/87)

On May 29, the ship was called to help the USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3), which had been drifting for five days after losing power to both engines and one of two generators.
Towing USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3).

USS Anchorage crossed the equator on May 24. On May 29, the ship was called to help the USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3), which had been drifting for five days after losing power to both engines and one of two generators.

“We were bobbing like a cork.” FC1 Terry Davenport USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3)

"I believe it was GMG3 Allen who did finally make the shot when they succeeded. It took a few tries because navigating directly in front of us without a collision in less than smooth seas was difficult. Not to mention our flight deck at 63 feet was significantly higher than the fantail of the Anchorage. The crew of both ships and all involved did a great job in a difficult situation." FC2 Tony DeLuca USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3)

On May 29, after several failed attempts to transfer a tow line by pulling alongside, USS Anchorage launched a small boat to facilitate the transfer. USS Anchorage towed USS Belleau Wood toward Sydney for repairs, but after a few days, USS Belleau Wood was finally able to repair its boilers enough to continue under its own power. USS Anchorage took her place in Tasmania.

In a Seventh Fleet Public Affairs Press Release dated June 22, it was announced that USS Anchorage was awarded the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy, which is presented annually and demonstrates the greatest improvement in battle efficiency from the previous year.

USS Anchorage crossed the equator and International Dateline simultaneously on June 23. The ship returned to Long Beach on July 9.

USS Anchorage participated in the San Francisco Fleet Week held on October 10.

1988

USS Anchorage participated in Exercise Kernel Blitz 88-1, held February 1-12. This free-play exercise involved the 5th MEB (Marine Expeditionary Brigade) and Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3 and took place off San Clemente Island and at Camp Pendleton, California. The Navy-Marine Corps exercise was the first major attempt to develop and execute a tactical theme compatible with the new concepts and weapons pertinent to amphibious warfare developed in recent years. In March, USS Anchorage set off for a solo voyage to Ensenada, Mexico for a weekend visit.

In April USS Anchorage entered an extensive overhaul at Southwest Marine Shipyard, San Pedro, California which lasted through November. This overhaul refitted USS Anchorage to accommodate LCAC’s (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) and two Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems were added. On December 15 CDR Gregory C. Butler relieved CDR Michael C. Wein as Commanding Officer.

1989

DEPLOYMENT - JULY to DECEMBER

USS Anchorage got underway on July 8 for another WESTPAC. Her stops included: Pusan, South Korea July 26-27; Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines August 7-14; Pattaya, Thailand August 22-26; back in Subic Bay September 11-25; Okinawa, Japan on September 28; Fukuoka, Japan November 1-5; Subic Bay again November 11-20; Hong Kong November 22-27; and Pearl Harbor on December 12. USS Anchorage returned to her home port of Long Beach on December 20.

BACK TO 1965

1990-1991

DEPLOYMENT - DESERT STORM - DECEMBER 1990 to JUNE 1991

Deployment of the 5th MEB (Marine Expeditionary Brigade) to the Arabian Gulf was talked about as early as August 1990 but they had a shipping problem. Only nine ships were available, and the MEB needed 15. On November 9, USS Anchorage was made available but was unable to undergo a pre-deployment work-up. Finally, on December 1, USS Anchorage got underway carrying the 5th MEB along with two LCAC’s (Landing Craft, Air Cushion), and would join ships from two other West Coast ports. The 18 ships of Amphibious Group Three formed the largest amphibious group to depart from the West Coast since the Vietnam deployment in 1965. This time in support of Operation Desert Storm, which was the U.S.-led and United Nations-authorized war against Iraq. The coalition force was comprised of 34 nations. After a stop in Pearl Harbor, USS Anchorage entered Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines December 27.

On December 29, 1990, CDR Terrance Paul Labrecque relieved CDR Gregory Clinton Butler as Commanding Officer.

After Subic Bay, the ship continued to Singapore and transited the Straits of Malacca, before joining the USS Ranger (CV 61) Carrier Battle Group in the North Arabian Sea on January 12, 1991. Amphibious Group Three joined another amphibious group already on station, forming the largest amphibious task force assembled in a combat zone since the Inchon landing during the Korean Conflict in 1950.

Amphibious Group Three consisted of 18 ships; USS Tarawa (LHA 1), USS Durham (LKA 114), USS Mobile (LKA 115), USS Vancouver (LPD 2), USS Ogden (LPD 5), USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Juneau (LPD 10), USS Okinawa (LPH 3), USS Tripoli (LPH 10), USS New Orleans (LPH 11), USS Anchorage (LSD 36), USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39), USS Germantown (LSD 42), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Peoria (LST 1183), USS Frederick (LST 1184), USS Cayuga (LST 1186), and USS Barbour County (LST 1195).

At 0400 on February 4, 1991, ground operations were underway to recapture Kuwait. After a delay due to severe weather and harbor mines, USS Anchorage began offloading at 1400 on February 24, landing the 5th MEB over the beach at Al Mishab, Saudi Arabia. Offloading continued until February 27. USS Anchorage was backloaded in seven hours (fastest of any LSD) and her LCAC carried the most tonnage of any LCAC and had the fewest breakdowns. While serving during Desert Storm, USS Anchorage earned a Navy Unit Commendation for the period August 1, 1990-April 1, 1991.

Over the next few months, USS Anchorage made port visits in Bahrain, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. USS Anchorage earned a Southwest Asia Service Medal for the period January 12, 1991-May 8. On its way home, while sailing nearby in the Indian Ocean, President George H. W. Bush diverted USS Anchorage to the Bay of Bengal on May 11 to take part in Operation Productive Effort, later changed to Operation Sea Angel by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell. Operation Sea Angel was the international humanitarian effort to assist Bangladesh in dealing with the devastation of Cyclone Marian and was one of the largest military disaster relief efforts ever conducted, with the United Kingdom, China, India, Pakistan, and Japan also participating. The U.S. alone had 15 ships and 2500 men. USS Anchorage, as part of Task Group 76.6, along with USS Tarawa (LHA 1), USS Vancouver (LPD 2), USS Juneau (LPD 10), USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39), USS Frederick (LST 1184), USS Barbour County (LST 1195), and USS St. Louis (LKA 116), anchored off Chittagong, Bangladesh, to offload material and serve as forward replenishment stations.

On May 19, the battalion surgeon for the 2nd Battalion 11th Marines, four corpsmen, a civilian nurse with a Marine Reserve unit, and several civilian relief workers, went ashore to help. The sole permanent medical facility on the island was in terrible condition. No electricity or running water, lack of medical equipment, patients were defecating, vomiting, and urinating on the floor, clouds of flies covered each patient, and ants covered IV bags. After a five-day stay improving conditions and with the increase in local staffing, the team returned to USS Anchorage.

Cyclone Marian claimed 138,866 lives, killed more than 1,000,000 livestock, displaced more than 10,000,000 people, ruined more than 74,000 acres of vital crops, and a 20-foot storm surge covered an additional 300,000 acres of farmland with seawater. Operation Sea Angel, with its 3,300 tons of supplies, is credited with having saved as many as 200,000 lives. USS Anchorage alone delivered over 1,500 tons; earning the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the ship's second Humanitarian Service Medal for her efforts.

After the allotted two-week period ended, USS Anchorage sailed for home on May 29. She entered the Straits of Malacca on June 1 heading for Subic Bay. After one more stop in Pearl Harbor, USS Anchorage arrived off the coast of Oceanside, just north of San Diego, on June 28. USS Anchorage earned a Joint Meritorious Unit Award for the period May 10-June 13, 1991. Offloading of Marines took place on the 29th at Camp Pendleton and San Diego.

Shortly after her return from deployment, the ship entered an extended overhaul period in Long Beach.

1992

This anchor is now on display at the Ship Creek Small Boat Launch in Anchorage.
Ship's anchor was donated.

HOMEPORT CHANGED BACK TO SAN DIEGO in MAY

Upon completion of the overhaul in Long Beach, USS Anchorage made the short trip back to her original homeport of San Diego. In June, the ship headed north to Alaska for a week-long port visit in Anchorage. On this trip, an anchor removed during overhaul, was transported, then presented to the City of Anchorage on June 16. This anchor is now located at the end of Ship Creek Small Boat Launch in Anchorage. The ship took part in Summer Solstice ceremonies on June 21.

“The trip to Alaska was the first long haul after months of dry dock and removing the anchor. I remember the Captain playing the song “North to Alaska” on the intercom as we were leaving. They had this program called adopt a sailor where families in Alaska would take one of us into their home for the duration of our liberty. I don’t know how many participated, but I did, and it was fun.” BMSN Carl Spell (3/92-5/95))

After her return and before the summer was over, USS Anchorage departed for the ever-popular day-long Tiger Cruise out of San Diego. Tiger Cruises provide an opportunity for family and friends of the crew to experience what Navy Sailors do on a day-to-day basis. On September 11, CDR Thomas J. Brown relieved CDR Terrance P. Labrecque as Commanding Officer. Later in the year, the ship made a port visit to Catalina Island, which is located just 29 miles off the coast of Southern California.

1993

For most of the year USS Anchorage was moored at Naval Station San Diego or was underway performing sea trials in preparation for the ship’s deployment in January 1994. USS Anchorage earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31. Can you add anything to this year?

1994

DEPLOYMENT - JANUARY to JULY

EQUATOR CROSSING *canceled due to severe weather

USS Anchorage was deployed on January 21 with Marines from Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit / Special Operations Capable (11th MEUSOC).

The ship would head directly to Singapore, going through one of those 'memorable' storms while enroute. No equator crossing ceremony was held because of the severe weather. After Singapore, as part of Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, the ship, along with USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Duluth (LPD 6), and USS Frederick (LST 1184), would spend time off the coast of Somalia to serve in Operation Continue Hope. Operation Continue Hope provided support of a United Nations Operation to establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief by providing personnel, communications, intelligence support, a quick reaction force, and other elements as required. The ship spent several days docked in Mogadishu and visited Mombasa, Somalia several times. CDR Paul Christopher Cassani relieved CDR Thomas Joseph Brown Jr. as Commanding Officer on March 24 while in Mombasa.

"Our first Captain, CDR Brown, was very strict with all hands. He refused to run our A/C; the troops below were suffering greatly, especially being on the equator in the summer. The 03 deck and above had the A/C running. The day CDR Cassani took over, he had our A/C turned on, which allowed the Marines to change to our summer sexy UDT shorts and t- shirt.” LCpl Daniel Montague USMC G 2/11 (7/93-7/94)

The Marines assigned to USS Anchorage took part in the amphibious withdrawal of US forces from Mogadishu on March 25. On April 12, USS Anchorage assisted in the evacuation of 142 U.S. Citizens from Rwanda during the Operation Distant Runner, evacuating 142 U.S. citizens from Rwanda. After operations off the coast of Africa, USS Anchorage departed for Perth, Australia. After several days in Perth, the ship would continue to Hawaii.

While docked at Pearl, our aft was towards the Arizona Memorial. I was standing around when I heard a whistle. I looked over and saw a Japanese sub passing by with their crew rendering honors to the Arizona.” LCpl Daniel Montague USMC G 2/11 (7/93-7/94)

The ship earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation and an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the period March 2-June 3. USS Anchorage would arrive back in San Diego July 20. The ship earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31.

BACK TO 1965

1995-1996

DEPLOYMENT - NOVEMBER 1995 to MAY 1996

USS Anchorage departed for another WESTPAC November 13, 1995. In December, the ship stopped in Okinawa, Japan; Singapore; and Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. USS Anchorage earned a Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation for the period January 27-October 6 and a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31, 1995.

On January 22, 1996, CDR John Alexander Read relieved CDR Paul Christopher Cassani as Commanding Officer. Early in the year, USS Anchorage was still operating in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq in conjunction with the USS Nimitz Battle Group. She had stops in Kuwait, and Bahrain in February. In March she was in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Muscat, Oman. USS Anchorage earned an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the period December 23, 1995-March 28, 1996. In April she stopped in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Republic of the Philippines; and Hong Kong, then Pearl Harbor in May, before arriving in California May 13.

Following completion of her deployment, USS Anchorage received numerous systems upgrades and modifications in San Diego while dry docked at NASSCO (National Steel and Shipbuilding Company) for planned maintenance availability. While at NASSCO, the ship had a mooring line break.

“There was a higher tide than what was on the tide table causing one of the mooring lines to break” BMSN Michael Royer (2/94-3/97)

“We had high winds and a super tide. The BM3 was amazing” FC2 Jason Velasquez (11/93-7/98)

“We broke a few lines up forward, the ship swung into a USNS ship’s bow and back towards the shore. Everyone was worried that the screws were bent.” BM3 Lenny Schoenhofen (12/93-1/99)

“I remember everyone living on the ship had to run to the forecastle to work the mooring lines.” BMSN Roy V Feeley (2/94-9/96)

USS Anchorage earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31, 1996.

1997

USS Anchorage headed to the Pacific Northwest and took part in operations with the Canadian Navy and then continued to Portland for the Rose Festival Fleet Week ceremonies in early June. On August 22, CDR Ronald Louis Thomas relieved CDR John Alexander Read as CDR Officer.

In December, history was made when the first female to join the crew of USS Anchorage, reported onboard to serve as ship’s Navigator. Her name, LT Tracy Clark. To provide some background; a pilot program for assigning women to ships began in 1972, Congress approved women to serve on support and noncombatant ships in 1978, and Congress approved women to serve on combatant ships in 1993. The first women to serve aboard combatant ships received their assignments on March 7, 1994.

"As the first of (at least a few!) women assigned to the ANCHORAGE, I'd like to believe that integration wasn't a big deal... I was a department head, so had my own stateroom (as did all the department heads). The head across from the 1st LT's stateroom was converted for my use (sorry 1st LT!!!), but other than that there weren't any other modifications made. We did change the watchbill so that I always had an assistant Command Duty Officer (under instruction) with me in port who could do the nightly berthing walkthroughs so that I didn't have to wake up anyone while passing through. I also remember having my very own peeping tom on deployment, but that was a whole different story! All in all, I think we (myself and the rest of the wardroom) tried to make it as much "much ado about nothing" as possible - we were there to get a job done, and we all wanted to get it done well. I reported as the Navigator/Admin Officer in December 1997, made the WESTPAC in 1998, and detached in August 1999." - Tracy Clark, CDR, JAGC, USN (ret.)

USS Anchorage earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31.

1998

DEPLOYMENT - JUNE to DECEMBER

The Ducks like to mark their presence by using a large sponge cut in the shape of a duck’s foot dipped in yellow paint, smacked on a ship deck so everybody knows the Duck stopped here
Desert Ducks - Runway 36.

USS Anchorage was deployed for WESTPAC on June 22. After spending time in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket, and Timor-Leste, the ship would enter the Arabian Gulf to visit Bahrain and Kuwait, where Marines were offloaded. While in the Gulf the ship supported Operation Southern Watch and Operation Desert Fox.

“In the gulf, the Desert Ducks used to like to put duck prints on the flight deck when they would land. We started spray painting Runway 36 on the helos while they were fueling up. Well, we got in trouble for that, so we started taking off the valve stem caps from their tires and replacing them with ones painted blue with RUNWAY 36 in yellow.” HT3 Chip Land (8/96-2/01)

After leaving Kuwait, USS Anchorage was on its way to Australia when it was redirected back to the gulf after the two U.S. embassies were bombed in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, East Africa on August 7. USS Anchorage earned an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the period August 11-November 10. The ship returned to San Diego on December 22.

USS Anchorage earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31. Can you add anything to this year?

1999

As early as 1999, USS Anchorage was considered for conversion to a hospital ship. LSDs were considered because of the same reasons they were built. They were designed to be personnel carriers, already have the built-in comfort facilities, such as berthing, mess, and toiletry, for large numbers of people, have large cargo spaces for medical equipment storage, already have the propulsion needed, and have multiple ways to bring personnel onboard. The Navy is still considering current LSDs or the existing LPD platform.

On March 30, CDR David S. Angood relieved CDR Ronald Louis Thomas as Commanding Officer. Can you add anything to this year?

BACK TO 1965

2000-2001

DEPLOYMENT - AUGUST 2000 to FEBRUARY 2001

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 172° 40' 0" E on AUGUST 30, 2000

USS Anchorage got underway August 14, 2000. The ship was in Hawaii August 20-22; visited Tarawa Atoll Memorial August 29; crossed the equator on August 30; was in Darwin, Australia September 7-11; and supported humanitarian efforts in Timor-Leste September 14-16. The ship continued to Singapore September 21-25, Thailand September 28-October 2, Seychelles October 9-13, then was deployed to the vicinity of Aden, Yemen for Operation Determined Response on October 16. This was to assist in the support of USS Cole (DDG 67) and perform security of the harbor area. USS Cole (DDG 67) had been attacked by terrorists who detonated an inflatable type of boat filled with explosives, blowing a 40-foot hole, port side amidships. As a result, 17 Sailors were killed and 37 wounded. Along with USS Anchorage were USS Tarawa (LHA 1), USS Duluth (LPD 6), USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Hawes (FFG 53), USNS CATAWBA (T-ATF 168), Marines of the 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit), and the British ships HMS Cumberland (F 85) and HMS Marlborough (F 233). This assignment lasted until October 31. On November 10, CDR Kent Vernell Flowers relieved CDR David S. Angood as Commanding Officer. The ship took part in Operation Iron Magic, United Arab Emirates, November 15-25, was in Bahrain November 26-29, took part in a Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (MEUEX) off Kuwait December 1-10, and conducted MIO (Maritime Interdiction Operations) December 19-25, 2000, in support of United Nations Resolutions, the first amphibious ship to do so in nearly two years.

It was around this time while in the Persian Gulf, a body was found floating in the water. Who the person was, where he came from, and the exact cause of death was never determined. The body was placed in a body bag, stored in a refer for a few days, then placed in a safe with holes, and after a brief ceremony, pushed off the lowered stern gate.

“I was on the foc'sle when I saw the dead body we picked up in the Gulf. I literally froze knowing I should go to the nearest phone and call it in. But was in shock because I had only seen 2 bodies in my life and those were in caskets with makeup. This was a purple bloated human. What seemed like eternity went by but was probably a minute or less as we were underway and heard Man Overboard on the 1MC and jumped right back to reality and manned my station on the ship’s small boat. Then helped clean a refer out to store the body.” BM Chris Phelix (9/00-8/01)

USS Anchorage earned an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the period September 22, 2000-January 2, 2001.

After celebrating Christmas, USS Anchorage visited Thailand January 7-11, 2001, Hong Kong January 17-22, and on January 24, made a very special stop at Iwo Jima. The ship was in Hawaii February 4-6 and held a Tiger Cruise on the voyage home. Tiger Cruises provide an opportunity for family and friends of the crew to experience what Navy Sailors do on a day-to-day basis. USS Anchorage returned to San Diego February 14.

During Kernel Blitz ’01, which took place March 20-April 6 off Camp Pendleton in southern California, USS Anchorage was the LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) Control Ship during the MEB (Marine Expeditionary Brigade) amphibious assault exercise. Kernel Blitz was an amphibious landing exercise with over 20 ships, 70 aircraft and 10,000 personnel from four countries participating.

USS Anchorage completed a multi-million dollar planned maintenance availability in June and then successfully completed a compressed Inter-Deployment Training cycle to prepare for CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training) 2002.

2002

DEPLOYMENT - APRIL to AUGUST

EQUATOR CROSSING at LATITUDE 0° 0' 0" LONGITUDE 106° 57' 0" E on MAY 16

Holiday leave period lasted through mid-January. USS Anchorage conducted Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA) January 22-25. TSTA assesses the ship’s warfighting and damage control proficiencies.

March began with Pre-Overseas Movement (POM) stand down with two leave periods on March 15 and March 29 giving the crew time to say good-bye to loved ones before the upcoming deployment for CARAT 2002. April started off with the semi-annual Command Physical Fitness Test. Final pre-deployment preparations took place April 4, followed by a Family Day Cruise on April 5.

USS Anchorage departed for WESTPAC/CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training) 2002 on April 8 enroute to Okinawa, Japan, to load Marines. On April 30, the ship left Okinawa, and headed for Southeast Asia along with USS Vincennes (CG 49), USS George Philip (FFG 12), and the U.S. Coast Guard high endurance cutter USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC 722). USS Anchorage was one of five ships, along with 1400 military personnel, to represent the U.S. in CARAT 2002.

On May 3, CDR Mark Edward Cedrun relieved CDR Kent Vernell Flowers as Commanding Officer. During CARAT, which ran from May through July. USS Anchorage spent a considerable amount of time in Brunei; Bali and Surabaya, Indonesia; Malaysia; Thailand; Singapore; and Republic of the Philippines while U.S. Marines trained with the local armed forces.

CARAT Brunei opening ceremony was held May 6. Jungle training is the Brunei military’s forte. U.S. troops first trekked over 3 kilometers through dense forest and after reaching Brunei’s Landing Place-311, communications with the Marine command post on the USS Anchorage were established. U.S. Marine C-53D Sea Stallion and Royal Brunei Air Force helicopters provided troop transport to move 209 Brunei and U.S. troops from the jungle to a landing zone near USS Anchorage. U.S. Marine helicopters also conducted deck-landing qualifications on the ship. Closing ceremonies were held May 13. The ship crossed the equator on May 16.

CARAT Indonesia held opening ceremonies in Surabaya, Indonesia on May 27.

CARAT Thailand held opening ceremonies June 10. Royal Thai Marines cross-decked to USS Anchorage while a platoon of U.S. Marines cross-decked to the HTMS Naresuan, for an amphibious exercise. Meanwhile, three U.S. Marine C-53D Sea Stallion helicopters airlifted a combined anti-armor team and vehicles from the deck of USS Anchorage. Closing ceremonies were held June 19.

”The rumor was some U.S. Marines had eaten monkey parts while training with the Thai Marines and the U.S. Marines had gotten some sort of gastrointestinal virus and brought back to the ship and it spread to the sailors. Rumors, unsure if exactly true. All I remember is a lot of us lining up sick as heck at the medical bay to wait for a shot and a 24hr SIQ order.” BMSN Jerrell Girdner (10/00-10/03)

”It was a rumor we couldn’t confirm, but I wouldn’t put anything past the Marines. They do crazy things when they get bored in the field. Thank the lord that the crew was able to get over that bug. Quickly. Look at what USS Roosevelt (CVN 71) just went through with COVID-19. That wouldn’t have been fun at all. We were already limited to where we could go on liberty as it was. Lockdown in port would have really hurt our morale.” HMC Ugochukwu O Anosike (1/00-10/03)

CARAT Malaysia held opening ceremonies June 22 in Kuantan. Just before conducting an amphibious assault, a platoon of U.S. Marines and eight amphibious vehicles crossed over to the Royal Malaysian Navy landing ship KD Sri Inderapura, while a platoon from the 9th Royal Malaysian Regiment and several armored vehicles and jeeps crossed over to the USS Anchorage. Closing ceremonies were held July 1.

CARAT Singapore ran from July 2 to 12. USS Anchorage spent time at Changi Naval Base, Singapore, taking part in opening ceremonies, a sports day, and a BBQ with Singapore Navy personnel. CARAT Philippines was in mid-July. USS Anchorage would then return to Okinawa to drop off Marines before returning to San Diego on August 29.

USS Anchorage earned a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for the period of October 1. The ship underwent upkeep from September 29 to October 7 before getting underway October 8-11 for deck landing qualifications and was underway for operational testing of the Marine Corps prototype Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) October 15-17. Before returning to San Diego, a burial at sea was held October 17.

"It was a task from Third Fleet. It was either 4 or 5 burials. Former military that wanted a burial at sea. Entire ship involved in dress uniforms. Filmed and photographed and provided to families along with location coordinates." CDR Nick Rangel (9/01-10/03)

From October 18 to November 30 the ship remained in availability status. USS Anchorage performed a dead-stick move to Pier 12 on December 5, held force protection drills 9-10, and performed another dead-stick move to Pier 9 December 11. Holiday leave periods were December 17-27 and 27-31.

2003

DEPLOYMENT - JANUARY to JULY

On January 17, USS Anchorage departed San Diego Bay for an unscheduled deployment in support of U.S. national interests along with the USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and USS Cleveland (LPD 7). Together the ‘Magnificent Seven’ formed the largest Amphibious Task Force (ATF-W) ever assembled to combat global terrorism. USS Anchorage carried Marines from the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance and 1st Battalion 11th Marine Division.

USS Anchorage assisted the U.S. Coast Guard personnel assigned to protect the platforms by providing daily quality of life amenities, such as hot showers, three meals a day and bunks to sleep in.
GOPLAT - MABOT.

USS Anchorage disembarked Marines in late February, and on March 8, commenced logistical support of Gas & Oil Platforms (GOPLATs) Mina Al Bakr Oil Terminal (MABOT) and Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT) in the Northern Arabian Gulf. The U.S. was afraid Iraqi forces would blow up the two GOPLATS, so Navy Seals boarded both. The security detail was eventually replaced with U.S. Coast Guard Reservists. USS Anchorage assisted the Coast Guard personnel assigned to protect the platforms by providing daily quality of life amenities, such as hot showers, three meals a day and bunks to sleep in.

The ship would operate in between the two GOPLATS and use the ship’s small boats to facilitate assistance. On one occasion, a command decision was made to tie up to MABOT, and because of rough seas the ship requested assistance from tugs. The Pilot who boarded was South African, the forward portside tug captain was from the Philippines, and the more powerful portside aft tug captain was a Dutchman. While the forward tug captain thought he was controlling his power, a sheared shaft created unbalanced movement between the two tugs, and even with the ship’s quick response, USS Anchorage made contact with the platform, resulting in a few dents and two small holes in the starboard side bow.

”We were supposed to moor to it in order to provide support to the Coast Guard detachment that was left there with very little support. They sent two different sized tugs to push us to the platform. One overpowered the other and shoved the bow into the platform, ripping a couple of holes in the bow creating some needed fresh air in the bos'n locker.” BM1 Lenny Schoenhofen (4/02-10/03)

"I was on the bridge, old man was pissed. Two tugs, one was a lot more powerful than the other. I thought the tug master was going to be thrown overboard.” QM Thomas DuLaney (11/01-10/03)

“I was one of the QMs on watch, I was actually writing the deck logs. QM1 Wyman told me to log everything said …. so needless to say, those deck logs show a colorful list of words from CDR Cedrun. He was about to throw that pilot over the bridge wing!” QM3 Daniel Robinson (7/00-8/03)

“I got sent to the area where the ship hit to see if anybody got hurt.” HM3 Michael Zigelhofer (1/01-10/03)

A second attempt was made the next day using the same Pilot and tugs, but because of the rough seas, the attempt was called off and the ship returned to using their small boats.

In addition to supporting the GOPLAT mission, USS Anchorage’s crew conducted a “Desert Tortoise” run for all the ships in ATF-West. This tasking involved loading-up with over 100,000 lbs. of mail, 232 pallets of cargo, and 71 Sailors in Bahrain, and then delivering this cargo and transferring the Sailors to amphibious ships patrolling the Northern Arabian Gulf. As part of the US Fifth Fleet Strike Force, USS Anchorage earned a Navy Unit Commendation for the period March 4-May 1.

In early May, USS Anchorage returned to waters off Kuwait Naval Base to backload 198 Marines attached to 1st Battalion, RECON, and Engineers Battalion who were returning from Iraq. The ship then made a port visit in Bahrain before heading home. While underway, before reaching Hawaii, the ship assisted in the rescue of five Filipino fishermen on June 9. They had been stranded at sea 313 miles off the Philippine coast since May 15.

"Among the fisherman, was a young kid. Myself, and the chief did a medical examination on him. After the examination, we took him to the mess decks. I remember that he ate three helpings of dinner that evening. The poor kid was hungry." HM Michael Zigelhofer (1/01-10/03)

On July 3, USS Anchorage returned from her final deployment to San Diego after six-months supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She had returned ahead of the rest of ATF-West to facilitate her decommissioning.

1 OCT 2003 - DECOMMISSIONED

USS Anchorage was approved for transfer to Taiwan by the United States Senate in November. The ship was scheduled to replace the former Comstock, now Chung Cheng, however the transfer never took place and USS Anchorage remained at the Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility at Pearl Harbor.

8 MAR 2004 - STRICKEN

USS Anchorage was formally removed from the Naval Vessel Register by SECNAV on recommendation of CNO. This is a legal preliminary before disposal.

17 JUL 2010 - DISPOSED, TARGET

RIMPAC/SINKEX 2010 USS ANCHORAGE (LSD 36), AT TIME 18:58:53W, COORDINATES 22° 57’ 2” N, 160° 5’ 6” W
RIMPAC SINKEX 2010.

On July 15, 2010, USS Anchorage was towed into position by USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169) during RIMPAC, a biennial, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional partnerships and improve interoperability. RIMPAC includes more than 14 nations: with 32 ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft, and more than 20,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen. On July 17, as the last target of SINKEX (Sink Exercise), USS Anchorage was hit by multiple weapons. These weapons included the Maverick missile AGM-65; Harpoon missiles AGM-84D, AGM-88, and RTM-84D; Paveway II laser-guided bombs GBU-12 and GBU-16; and the Training Missile UTM-84D. These weapons were fired from a variety of aircraft, including the P-3C flown by Patrol Squadrons VP-5 and VP-40. Numerous surface ships also fired weapons at the ship, including the 76mm.

"Anchorage was my first ship and I was on a FFG during that RIMPAC and we fired our 76MM at her. There was a long line of ships shooting. I was glad to be part of the team that was involved that day. SUI GENERIS" MA1 Lee McGuire USS Ford (FFG 54)

The USS Bremerton (SSN 698) waited for her turn from a safe distance, not even sure they would get an opportunity. USS Anchorage was blistered and damaged superficially, but she still floated, even after all the strafing. The Bremerton moved in and fired one MK-48 Mod6 torpedo, which lifted USS Anchorage out of the water, breaking her keel.

"We watched her get pounded for hours. All day long booms and other noises. The Target Navy hit her with everything they had. Each time the smoke cleared; the Anchorage was still there. Finally, the range cleared, and we fired the Adcap. Just like the videos they show in training. The whole ship “jumped” out of the water and then settled back. She sank fairly quickly. We were all crammed on Crews Mess watching the periscope feed. As the bow was about to go under (1-2’ left) we lost video. By the time video came back up she had gone under. Freaking awesome thing to be a part of." Stylus Griggs USS Bremerton (SSN 698)

USS Anchorage went down at 18:58:53W and now lies at 15,360 feet, about 52 nautical miles off the coast of Barking Sands, Hawaii, at GPS coordinates 22° 57’ 2” N, 160° 05’ 6” W.

BACK TO 1965

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