SHIP INFORMATION

US Navy looking at this design for new amphibious ship
Australian LAW (front).

Amphibious ships …

Gator Navy. Today’s amphibious ships have origins as far back as 1915 when landing craft called ‘X Lighters’ were built. Over the years several types of ships have been designed and eliminated as amphibious task force requirements have changed. LSV (Landing Ship, Vehicle), LST (Landing Ship, Tank), LPH (Landing Platform, Helicopter), and LSD are just some examples. LSDs (Landing Ship, Dock) were first commissioned in 1943 and the last LSD was commissioned in 1998.

The primary amphibious ship under construction today is the San Antonio Class of LPD (Landing Platform, Dock). There are currently 11 active, two under construction, and more planned. However, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are in the process of developing another amphibious type of ship referred to as LAW (Light Amphibious Warship) and are looking at an Australian design.

About this type of amphibious ship …

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 LSD36 well deck ballasting ...
Well deck ballasting.

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 individual ballast tanks 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. Ships are equipped with movable ramps to move personnel and cargo between any of three levels: well deck, mezzanine deck, and flight deck. As a dry dock, boats would enter and be secured, the water in 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, and covered LSDs 1-8. LSDs numbers 9-12 were delivered to the British Navy, Casa Grande Class was LSDs 13-27, and Thomaston Class LSDs 28-35. USS Anchorage is lead ship of her class, LSDs 36-40, and along with being first in class, was the last in class to be decommissioned.

Following the Anchorage Class were Whidbey Island Class LSDs 41-48 and Harper’s Ferry Class LSDs 49-52. As of 2021, 11 LSDs are still active, but ten of those are scheduled to be decommissioned within five years.

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 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.

The Anchorage is lead ship of her class and is the fourth class of LSD to be built.

About the Anchorage …

USS Anchorage was equipped with machine shops and repair facilities, and along with two 50-ton Boat & Aircraft Cranes; one port, one starboard, could provide drydock services for vessels up to harbor tug in size. This is when the flight deck could be removed.

This ship could embark 302 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 (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) in their well decks. More landing craft could be carried if the Mezzanine Deck were removed.

Upgrades to USS Anchorage over the years were made to propulsion, armament, numerous internal systems, and ship’s boats.

USS Anchorage was the first ship to be named after Alaska’s largest city. The ship is lead ship of her class and is the fourth class of LSD to be built. Her motto is ‘Sui Generis’, meaning ‘unique; of its own kind’. The Anchorage Class of LSD consists of five ships; the others are USS Portland (LSD 37), USS Pensacola (LSD 38), USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39), and USS Fort Fisher (LSD 40).

USS Anchorage saw 34 years of honorable service after being commissioned in 1969. Before decommissioning in 2003, USS Anchorage patrolled in three of the world’s oceans and countless trouble spots, deploying 19 times from her home ports of San Diego and Long Beach. USS Anchorage earned the distinction of being the most decorated dock landing ship on the West Coast with 16 awards.

Please look over the ship’s proud history below, and along with the crew, commemorate this great ship and its prominent place in history. The year 2020 was significant, because it was the ten-year anniversary of the final sacrifice our ship made. USS Anchorage came out of retirement to be used as a target during the 2010 RIMPAC/SINKEX naval training exercise.


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".

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.

1967-1970 | 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 was assigned to the ship in December 1968 and reported to Pascagoula, Mississippi mid-January.

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 modification 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

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 was moored at Berth 2 and commissioned March 15 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. 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 convened to inspect the underwater hull. On April 14, all hull openings were inspected before the dry dock flooding started at 0915. The ship cleared her keel blocks at 1320 and was moved back to berth 2.

On May 24, the ship’s status changed from ‘In Commission Special’ to ‘In Commission’. Degaussing for the ship (11+ hours) took place May 26-27; ammunition loading at Explosive Anchorage EX-1 Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Virginia May 27-28; and in Charleston, South Carolina May 29-June 2. Once the ship departed Charleston, it would begin standardization tests which evaluate every facet of an amphibious warship. After departing Charleston, USS Anchorage headed toward Andros Island, Bahamas to pick up AUTEC (Atlantic Underseas Test and Evaluation Center) personnel June 6. AUTEC offers underwater testing, in-air test facilities, and support to U.S., Canadian, British, NATO, and other military and civilian organizations.

USS Anchorage was in port June 7-8 at Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; underway for AUTEC Site 1 Andros Island June 9; back in Norfolk June 12-24; Annapolis, Maryland June 24-26; docked at Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida June 28-July 1; and Port Everglades again July 2-7. The ship got underway for the Panama Canal July 7 with docking at Naval Station Panama Rodman July 16-18, before continuing to San Diego. The ship arrived at her home port July 26.

On August 11 USS Anchorage got underway for final acceptance trials. After anchoring off Coronado Roads through August 12, the ship returned to port in San Diego. September saw the ship in and out of port while conducting a variety of operations. The ship got underway on October 14, laying anchor off Del Mar, Southern California to load for the upcoming amphibious landings to be held back at Coronado Roads October 15-17.

At the end of her shakedown training off the California coast, USS Anchorage entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California on November 1 for post-shakedown availability. On November 4 the ship was moved to Dry Dock 3, water pumped out, and the ship rested on keel blocks at 1056. On December 30, flooding of the dry dock started at 1230, ship cleared keel blocks at 1312, and ship was moved to Berth 19 at Mare Island, where it stayed the remainder of the year.

1970

USS Anchorage was docked at berth 19 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. On January 31, the ship departed with the USS Monticello (LSD 35) for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) 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, the ships joined USS Denver (LPD 9) with Commander Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 7 and USS Alamo (LSD 33). The four-ship convoy steamed westward in formation conducting daily exercises and tactical drills. On February 5, the convoy rendezvoused with the USNS Kawishiwi (AO 146) about 40 miles north of Pearl Harbor. On February 19, the ship arrived at Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam; took on the personnel and equipment of the 7th Motor Battalion; and set out for the United States, arriving March 12.

Following a month and a half in port at San Diego for training and upkeep, USS Anchorage got underway on May 1 with other units of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 for Southeast Asia. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor and then sailed to Johnston Atoll to deliver several landing craft. The ship next proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan, and arrived there on May 19 for voyage repairs. Her next port call was at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Japan, where Marines came on board for transportation to Subic Bay, Philippines. Upon the completion of that embarkation, PHIBRON 5 units assumed duty as Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Alfa.

From June 6 to 18, USS Anchorage carried small craft between ports along the coast of Vietnam. Her ports of call included Vung Tau, Camranh Bay, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, and An Thoi. She anchored near An Thoi from June 11 to 14 to provide dry dock services for the ships at the naval activity there. On June 22, the ship participated in the first of several amphibious exercises conducted by ARG Alfa at Green Beach, near Subic Bay. During these operations, she functioned as a primary control ship for the direction and control of landing craft while they moved to the beach.

The ship pulled into Sasebo, Japan, early in July for a period of rest and relaxation for the crew. USS Anchorage got underway again on July 16 for amphibious exercises off Green Beach. On July 31, the ship arrived at Okinawa to take Battalion Landing Team 2/9 on board for transportation to Subic Bay. She arrived at Subic Bay on August 18 for upkeep. Next port of call was Hong Kong, which she visited from September 10 to 18 and then returned to the Subic Bay operating area.

From September 24 to October 8, USS Anchorage traveled among Subic Bay and Vung Tau, Camranh Bay, and Da Nang, Vietnam, carrying various small craft. During this time, on October 2, a deck log entry at 0755 showed 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.

Late in October, the ship conducted relief operations in the Lagonoy Gulf, on the eastern coast of the Philippine, for victims of Typhoons Joan and Kate. Typhoon Joan hit October 10 and killed 768 people and Typhoon Kate on October 14 killing 631. Tens of thousands were also left homeless across southern Luzon and Catanduanes Island. 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.

After touching at Keelung, Taiwan, on October 29, the ship proceeded to Okinawa to pick up a landing craft for transportation to Subic Bay. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the periods October 5-7 and November 5-6. She took part in amphibious exercises at Green Beach on November 7, then docked at Subic Bay. From November 20 to 23, USS Anchorage was at Okinawa to disembark Marines and to unload their equipment. During this time, PHIBRON 5 was relieved of duties as ARG Alfa. The ship then paid a short visit to Yokosuka, Japan, for liberty and the loading of equipment for transportation to the United States. USS Anchorage departed Japan on November 30 and arrived in San Diego on December 10 after having traveled over 42,000 miles during deployment.

1971-1972

FEB 1971 to MAY 1971 - WESTPAC

2 MAR 1971 - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 164° 30' 00" W

OCT 1971 to JUL 1972 - WESTPAC

9 FEB 1972 - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 105° 30' 00" E

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 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. On March 25 in Perth, CAPT Cyrus A. Rank relieved CAPT Percy S. Beaman as Commanding Officer.

USS Anchorage then pushed on into the Indian Ocean and arrived Diego Garcia on April 4, she unloaded the construction materials, and left the next day for Subic Bay to obtain minor repairs and replenishment. Following a visit to Hong Kong from April 17 to 22, the ship sailed to Da Nang where she embarked Marine Corps personnel and equipment for return to the United States as part of Operation Keystone Robin. On April 23, she departed for San Diego. USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the periods April 11-12 and 22-24.

“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

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.

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. Early in November, the ship visited Kaohsiung, Taiwan. From November 13 to 20, she shuttled landing craft between Vung Tau and Subic Bay. 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 periods October 25-26, November 14-16, 19-21, and December 12-18. During the last few weeks of 1971, the ship visited Sasebo, Japan, and Hong Kong for liberty calls, and carried Marines and equipment from Okinawa to Subic Bay.

After a period of repair work, USS Anchorage sailed for Buckner Bay on January 17, 1972, to embark Marines for transportation back to Subic Bay. 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. After Subic Bay, the ship traveled to Singapore, crossing the equator on February 9, then headed back to Subic Bay. After leaving Subic Bay, the ship would make a trip to Kure, Japan, in early March, to participate in amphibious exercises. 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.

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. Multiple LCM-6s (Landing Craft, Mechanized) from the USS Anchorage were called in to rescue South Vietnamese Marines from a 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

USS Anchorage earned a Combat Action Ribbon for the period of May 24.

After Vietnam, the ship arrived Okinawa on June 14 to embark troops bound for the Philippines. She would arrive Subic Bay on June 20, and after a series of amphibious landing exercises, USS Anchorage resumed wet-well operations between Vung Tau and Subic Bay.

USS Anchorage earned a Vietnam Service Medal for the periods January 28-February 1, February 7-9, 15-17, March 21, April 1-May 7, May 19-June 11, 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 Captain Robert N. Congdon relieved Captain Cyrus A. 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

DEC 1973 to APR 1974 - WESTPAC

22 FEB 1974 - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 84° 40' 0" E

During this yard work, a fire broke out on board and prolonged her stay in overhaul.
Overhaul 1973.

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. An inexperienced Sailor had been on fire watch with a welder below deck when a fire broke out. The Petty Officer of the watch at the time, received the call and was told of a fire; the Sailor hung up before giving the location. An announcement over the PA was made asking for a call back, but when the Sailor called back and was asked for the location, he gave the compartment number where he was calling back from and not of the fire. Until they reached him, they only knew it was below, aft.

The ship finally got underway on September 23 for sea trials and started amphibious refresher training late in October. On December 8, 1973, the ship commenced another WESTPAC deployment. During this deployment, the ship visited Subic Bay; Buckner Bay; Sasebo and Iwakuni, Japan; Diego Garcia; and Singapore.

Before heading home, the ship stopped at Subic Bay, leaving on March 28, 1974. After the Philippines, there were stops at Guam and Pearl Harbor before arriving back in San Diego on April 18. 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. On September 23 CDR L.P. Aldana relieved CDR R.A. Congdan as Commanding Officer. USS Anchorage began a restricted availability at Long Beach, California on October 17 and, after the work was completed on December 16, she returned to home port 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

1975

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

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).

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 Mumazu, Japan April 18-21; Okinawa Japan on the 23rd, and Subic Bay on the 28th. 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 A.C. Wright relieved CDR 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 J.R. Lund relieved CDR A.C. 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.

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 P.I. Bledsoe relieved CDR J.R. Lund as Commanding Officer.

1977

MAR to NOV - WESTPAC

25 JUL 1977 - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 105° 56' 0" E

If you've never crossed the equator you're a Polywog, after Crossing the Line ceremony you're a Shellback.
Equator Crossing Ceremony 1977.

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, Philippines; Singapore; Hong Kong; Keelung, Taiwan; and Yokosuka, Japan. On July 25, while underway in the waters south of Singapore, USS Anchorage crossed the equator. 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. 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. 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. 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 R.D. Foster relieved CDR P.I. Bledsoe as Commanding Officer. Upon completion of overhaul work, the ship resumed operations and began sea trials December 13. USS Anchorage earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period March 31-December 31.

1979

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 January 1-May 11. 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. 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.

1980

JAN to JUL- WESTPAC

10 MAR - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 65° 05' 0" E

4 MAY - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 000° 00' 0" E *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 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. 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 to deliver barges to that isolated American outpost in the middle of the Indian Ocean. 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.

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. She concluded the interlude in Thai waters with a visit to Pattaya May 5-10. Around this time, it was rumored a Marine general wanted an equator crossing listed in his record, so the ship made its second crossing of the deployment. 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 W.R. McCann relieved CDR R.D. Foster as Commanding Officer. The ship completed repairs on November 20 and resumed operations out of her homeport.

1981

JUN to DEC - WESTPAC

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. 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. 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, Korea, and sometimes a Thai port. USS Anchorage completed her last 7th Fleet mission at Naha, Okinawa, late in November, and on the 21st got underway for the return to California. 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 R.R. Kruszona relieved CDR W.R. McCann 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

SEP 1983 to MAR 1984 - WESTPAC

AUG 1984 - HOMEPORT CHANGED TO LONG BEACH

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 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 the 12th, 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 Marine Corps passengers 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 M.D. Quigley relieved CDR R.R. Kruszona as Commanding Officer. USS Anchorage earned a Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation for the period July 1-December 31.

1985

MAR to SEP - WESTPAC

Upkeep continued for the first quarter and on March 27, USS Anchorage left Long Beach on a course for Southeast Asia. The ship interrupted her long voyage briefly at Sasebo, Japan, on April 16 to pick up mail and then arrived at Pohang, South Korea, on the 17th. At Pohang, USS Anchorage embarked a Marine Corps contingent and set sail for Okinawa, Japan on April 18.

For the next four months, the ship crisscrossed the distant reaches of the Pacific delivering Marines to various points for combat training and returning them to their bases. As in the past. USS Anchorage would sometimes join in the exercises to practice the ship’s role as an amphibious warship. Her final group of passengers came on board at Yokohama, Japan, between August 9 and 11 and disembarked at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on the 14th.

On the August 15, USS Anchorage began the passage home. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor August 26-28 and arrived in Southern California on September 3. The following day, the ship returned to Long Beach where she began a five-week post-deployment stand-down. After the ship’s return to active operations on October 10, USS Anchorage would embark upon an extended period of local operations for the remainder of the year. USS Anchorage earned a Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation for the period January 1-October 31.

1986

Local operations continued through 1986. On December 11 CDR M.C. Wein relieved CDR M.D. Quigley as Commanding Officer.

1987

JAN to JUL - WESTPAC

24 MAY - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 151° 18' 5"

23 JUN - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 180° 00' 0"

USS Anchorage departed Long Beach in January for another WESTPAC deployment. The ship first headed north to Alaska and while with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3 in the Bering Sea, she 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; Okinawa, Japan; Pohang and Pusan, South Korea; Pattaya Beach, 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.

... drifting for several days before the Anchorage was called in to assist.
Second attempt.

USS Anchorage crossed the Equator on May 24 and the equator and International Dateline simultaneously on June 23. After the June 23 crossing, the USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) lost power to both engines and one of two generators, and after drifting for five days, USS Anchorage was asked to help.

“We were bobbing like a cork.” FC1 Terry Davenport 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.

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 G.C. Butler relieved CDR M.C. Wein as Commanding Officer.

1989

JUL to DEC - WESTPAC

USS Anchorage got underway on July 8 for another WESTPAC. Her stops included: Pusan, South Korea July 26-27; Subic Bay August 7-14; Pattaya Beach, 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.

1990-1991

DEC 1990 to MAY 1991 - DESERT STORM

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 Marine expeditionary brigade 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, carrying the 5th MEB along with two LCAC’s (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) onboard, joined 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 December 27, then continued to Singapore and transited the Straits of Malacca, before joining the USS Ranger (CV 61) Carrier Battle Group in the North Arabian Sea. The 18 ships then joined an 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. On December 29, 1990, CDR T.P. Labrecque relieved CDR G.C. Butler as Commanding Officer.

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 the 24th, 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 the Navy Unit Commendation for the period August 1, 1990-April 1, 1991, and the Southwest Asia Service Medal (2 stars).

Over the next few months, USS Anchorage made port visits in Bahrain, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 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 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 the 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, Anchorage.
Ship's anchor was donated.

MAY - HOMEPORT CHANGED BACK TO SAN DIEGO

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. 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 T.J. Brown relieved CDR T.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

JAN to JUL - WESTPAC

00 AAA - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 000° 00' 0" *need date and coordinates

USS Anchorage got underway in January for another WESTPAC deployment and would go through one of those 'memorable' storms enroute to Singapore. After Singapore, 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 and serve in Operation Continue Hope and assisted in Operation Quick Draw. Operation Continue Hope provided support of United Nations Operation in Somalia to establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations by providing personnel, logistical, communications, intelligence support, a quick reaction force, and other elements as required. The ship docked at Mogadishu and spent several days there.

In April, USS Anchorage also assisted in Operation Distant Runner, which rescued Americans from Rwanda. Some 230 civilians, including 142 U.S. citizens, were fleeing ethnic bloodshed. Violence had escalated when the Rwandan president was killed after his plane was shot down with surface-to-air missiles. The following day soldiers, police, and militia executed key Tutsi and Hutu military and political leaders. An estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandans were murdered, about 70% of the Tutsi population, and 250,000-500,000 women were raped during the genocide.

While making a port visit in Mombasa, Kenya, CDR P.C. Cassani relieved CDR T.J. Brown as Commanding Officer on March 24. After Marines pulled out of Somalia in late March, USS Anchorage set off for Perth, Australia. After several days in Perth, the ship would continue to Hawaii, and then home to San Diego. USS Anchorage earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31.

1995-1996

NOV 1995 to MAY 1996 - WESTPAC

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 Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31, 1995.

On January 22, 1996, CDR J.A. Read relieved CDR P.C. 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. In April she stopped in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manilla, 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 ~ “We had high winds and a super tide. The BM3 was amazing” FC2 Jay Velasquez ~ “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

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 on to Portland for the Rose Festival Fleet Week ceremonies in early June. On August 22 CDR R.L. Thomas relieved CDR J.A. Read as Commanding Officer. USS Anchorage earned a Navy “E” Ribbon for the period January 1-December 31. Can you add anything to this year?

1998

JUN to DEC - WESTPAC

'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

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. 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 D.S. Angood relieved CDR R.L. Thomas as Commanding Officer. Can you add anything to this year?

2000-2001

AUG 2000 to FEB 2001 - WESTPAC

30 AUG 2000 - EQUATOR CROSSING at LONGITUDE 172° 40' 00" E

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; and spent time in Darwin, Australia September 7-11; before earning her second Humanitarian Service Medal supporting 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 K.V. Flowers relieved CDR D.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. USS Anchorage earned an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the period October 8-January 1, 2001.

After celebrating Christmas, USS Anchorage visited Thailand January 7-11, 2001, Hong Kong January 17-22, Iwo Jima Memorial January 24, Hawaii February 4-6, then held a Tiger Cruise on the voyage from Hawaii, returning to San Diego February 14. Tiger Cruises provide an opportunity for family and friends of the crew to experience what Navy Sailors do on a day-to-day basis. 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 2002.

2002

APR to AUG - WESTPAC

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

USS Anchorage departed for WESTPAC on April 2 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 (Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training).

On May 3 CDR M.E. Cedrun relieved CDR K.V. 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 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.

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.

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.

CARAT Singapore ran from July 2 to 12 and CARAT Philippines was in mid-July. USS Anchorage would then return to Okinawa to drop off Marines before returning to San Diego on August 2.

2003

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 disembarked Marines in late February, and on March 8, commenced logistical support of Gulf Oil Platforms (GOPLATs) Mina Al Bakr Offshore Terminal and Khawr Al Amaya Offshore Terminal in the Northern Arabian Gulf. 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.

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.

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. USS Anchorage then made a port visit to Bahrain and Hawaii, and on June 9, while returning from deployment, the ship assisted in the rescue of five Filipino fishermen who had been stranded at sea 313 miles off the Philippine coast since May 15. 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.

… transfer never took place and Anchorage remained at the Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility at Pearl Harbor.
Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility.

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 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 LSD36, 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 168) 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 the 17th, 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 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° 5’ 6” W.