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USS Duluth (LPD-6): Wikis


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USS Duluth (LPD 6).jpg
The USS Duluth in 2004
Career (US)
Name: USS Duluth
Namesake: Duluth, Minnesota
Operator:  United States Navy
Ordered: September 21, 1961
Laid down: December 18, 1963
Launched: August 14, 1965
Commissioned: December 18, 1965
Decommissioned: October 13, 2005
Struck: September 28, 2005
Homeport: San Diego, California
Motto: Official "Fortiter in Re (Bold in Action)" Unofficial "6 the Hard Way"
Nickname: Dirty D
Fate: Stricken, to be disposed of, retain as logistics support asset
General characteristics
Class and type: Austin class amphibious transport dock
Displacement: 9079 tons light, 16861 tons full, 7782 tons dead
Length: 173.4 m (569 ft) overall, 167 meters (548 ft) waterline
Beam: 32.9 m (108 ft) extreme, 25.6 meters (84 ft) waterline
Draught: 6.7 m (22 ft) maximum, 7 meters (23 ft) limit
Speed: 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Complement: 101 officers, 1337 men

USS Duluth (LPD-6), an Austin class amphibious transport dock, is the second ship of the United States Navy named for the city in Minnesota.

Duluth was laid down on December 18, 1963 by the New York Naval Shipyard. She was launched on August 14, 1965 and commissioned on December 18, 1965. She was the last ship to be launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard before it was closed.





The ship sailed to Danang, Republic of Vietnam, in May 1965 to operate with Amphibious Ready Group, U.S. 7th Fleet in the Vietnam War. On June 15, 1966, a Sikorsky H-34 from HC-4 made the first helicopter landing on board.

In 1967, from the months of May until November the Duluth operated with Amphibious Ready Group, Seventh Fleet, in South China Sea. Conducted amphibious landing operations Bear Claw and Beacon Guide at Hue (June 7), Chu Lai (June 12), Cue Viet (July 3, 27), and Phu Loc (July 21). Took part in Operations Beacon Gate at Song Cua Dai and Chu Lai (August 7 – August 16) and Beacon Point off Thua Thien province. The LPD then steamed off Quang Nam and Quang Tin provinces during Operation Ballistic Charge (September 16 – September 28). After refitting at Subic Bay, Duluth participated in helicopter-centered Operation Bastion Hill near Cua Viet (October 10 – November 1). Following vehicle ferry operations from Subic early in the month, the LPD steamed to Hong Kong, arriving there November 17.

Underway for a WestPac cruise on May 1, 1970, Duluth loaded BLT 1/9 at Okinawa for transfer to Subic Bay at the end of the month. She then made several cargo lifts to Danang or to Yankee Station, delivering an H-3 helicopter to America (CVA-66), spare parts, and carried YFU-52 back to Subic Bay before steaming to Sasebo, Japan, for rest and recreation July 3 – July 15. Returning to Subic on the 19th, she spent the next three months conducting amphibious training and logistics operations from Subic to Danang and Vung Tau. In mid-October, Duluth embarked 140 Philippine marines for a joint exercise near Manila, but disaster recovery efforts in the wake of Typhoon Joan forced a cancellation of the operation. Arriving in Lagoney Gulf on October 22, Duluth operated as a fuel stop and ready deck ship for helicopters during three days of relief operations in a swath of devastated barrios and villages 80 by 20 miles (32 km) wide and including the cities of Virac and Naga. Following another month of logistics support out of Subic Bay, Duluth steamed for home, reaching San Diego on December 10.


After a restricted availability to repair a damaged rotor blade in her port turbine, Duluth sailed for another WestPac deployment on October 1, 1971. The ship loaded elements of BLT 2/4 at Okinawa on October 18 before resuming Danang logistics support operations out of Subic Bay. The LPD delivered vehicles, equipment and humanitarian supplies to Danang and embarked deck cargo and damaged PTFs for return to Subic. The LPD remained there until through the winter, conducting the occasional amphibious exercise in the Philippines and transporting troops and supplies between Subic Bay and Buckner Bay. On April 1, following the outbreak of the North Vietnamese “Easter Offensive,” Duluth sailed to a holding station off South Vietnam to await developments. With the North Vietnamese offensive blunted by the end of the month, the LPD steamed to Subic Bay for rest and relaxation, May 8 – May 21. Returning to Vietnam, Duluth embarked 300 South Vietnamese marines at Tan My and landed them at Quang Tri on the 24th, during which operation Duluth took desultory enemy fire from a shore battery. The LPD conducted a similar mission in early July, when Marine helicopters deployed South Vietnamese marines during Operation Lam-Son 72, before sailing for home on July 14 and arriving in San Diego on August 4, 1972.

On March 28, 1975, Duluth got underway for a WestPac deployment via Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Subic Bay. Arriving off Vung Tau on April 21, Duluth participated in the evacuation of almost 9,000 people from Saigon; 1,373 Americans and 6,422 of other nationalities, mostly South Vietnamese. On April 29, fourteen landings by South Vietnamese, Marine and Air America helicopters deliver over 900 refugees to Duluth alone, including the Italian ambassador. The refugees were later transferred to USNS Sgt. Truman Kimbro (T-AK-254). The following day another 1,391 refugees arrived, forcing Duluth’s crew to jettison three RVN helicopters over the side to make room for the arriving H-53 helicopters. The ship then steamed to Subic Bay and disembarked the refugees on May 5. Over the next four days, working parties of volunteers reported to Grande Island to assist and process refugees. The LPD remained at Subic through the end of the month for cleaning ship.


In August, September and October 1983 Duluth served in support of the multi-national peace keeping mission to Beirut, Lebanon, and participated in the evacuation of Ambassador Robert Collins and family.


In August 1989, Duluth sailed to Prince William Sound, Alaska, for oil spill decontamination operations with HMM-268 embarked. Duluth housed clean-up crews, provided medical and weather forecasting services and supported decontamination barge efforts.

Duluth was underway January 21, 1994 for WestPac operations. Arrived in Singapore February 14 and assigned to TG 76.5 for duty off the coast of Somalia. The ship remained in Singapore for six days before getting underway for the Indian Ocean and arriving off Mogadishu on March 3 to assist in the evacuation of American forces from Somalia. She remained there, other than a short trip to Melindi, Kenya, until April 24 when the LPD steamed to Mombasa. Duluth then steamed off Kipini, Kenya, holding for possible contingency operations owing to the civil war in Rwanda, until June 4 when she sailed for Fremantle, Australia. Following a five-day port visit, the LPD returned to San Diego via Pearl Harbor, arriving home on July 21.


Commander Donald S. Inbody assumed command of Duluth at 1430 on May 21, 1996 in a ceremony on the flight deck while underway in the Sea of Thailand en route Singapore. Commodore Frank Gallic (Commander, Amphibious Squadron Three) spoke. Colonel John Garrett (13th Marine Expeditionary Unit), LtCol Bill Johnson (MEU Service Support Group 13), CDR Lee Touchberry (USS RUSHMORE), and other Commanding Officers and Officers in Charge from within the Amphibious Ready Group were present.

During the deployment, Duluth participated with the other ships of COMPHIBRON Three and 13th MEU in a highly classified operation to capture Imad Mughniyah. This plan, Operation Return Ox, set sail at 1730C from Bahrain on July 23, 1996 to intercept the Motor Vessel Ibn Tufail, a Pakistani ship on which it was believed Mughniyah was embarked. On July 24, after all ships were at sea and Navy SEALS had already begun shadowing the Pakistani ship, it was canceled. Operators were told that the White House canceled the interception when they could not be given 100% assurance that Mughniya was actually on board. (CNN interview with Colonel John Garrett, USMC (Ret), on March 12, 2002. Colonel Garrett was the Commander of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit which provided some of the force involved in the operation.)


USS Duluth seen here off the coast of Aden, Yemen, January 29, 2000.

Duluth was again underway August 14, 2000 for operations in the Indian Ocean as part of the Tarawa (LHA-1) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). Following stops at Pearl Harbor and Darwin, Australia, Duluth conducted three days of humanitarian assistance operations off East Timor (September 14 – September 16) before a one-day stop at Singapore on the 21st. Moving into the Indian Ocean, the ARG stopped at Phuket, Thailand (September 28 – October 1) before steaming on to the Seychelles, where they arrived October 9. Three days later, Duluth received word that the USS Cole (DDG-67) had been bombed in harbor at Aden, Yemen, and the LPD quickly steamed north to Aden to provide small boat and helicopter operations in support of Cole. Following a short cruise north to Bahrain in late December, Duluth sailed east, arriving in San Diego on February 14. While en route, the LPD stopped at Iwo Jima to launch amphibious vehicles in commemoration of the World War II battle.

Underway for Operation Iraqi Freedom on January 6, 2003, Duluth loaded elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and HMM-161 and sailed west. After a brief stop in Singapore on January 29, the ships sailed into the Indian Ocean and arrived in the northern Persian Gulf on February 10. The LPD operated at sea until March 19 when hostilities began in Iraq. The ship served as on-scene commander on March 22 when two helicopters from HMS Ark Royal (R07) collided in the vicinity of Duluth. After the initial surge of Marines ashore, Duluth's crew conducted boat operations in support of operations around Iraqi oil pipeline terminals. Departing the Persian Gulf on May 27, the ship stopped at Cairns, Australia and Pearl Harbor before arriving home on July 23.

While anchored at Guam on December 28, 2004, the LPD was ordered south for Operation Unified Assistance to aid victims of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. Duluth arrived off Sri Lanka on January 9, 2005 and her crew and embarked Marines cleared helicopter landing zones, removed debris and helped clean up two devastated elementary schools. During this deployment, Duluth delivered 210 tons of supplies to Sumatra and Sri Lanka.

The amphibious transport dock ship's last deployment ended in June 2005 after a six-month cruise to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Shortly after Duluth's final cruise, she was decommissioned at Naval Station San Diego in a ceremony on September 28, 2005 and LPD-6 was stripped from the national ship's registry. The ceremony featured the crew leaving the ship in ranks and the lowering of the national colors.

Duluth sat in San Diego for many months before being towed to the mothball fleet in Hawaii.


Duluth won many awards in its 39 years. The most recent was the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Award for supporting Coast Guard Port Security Units during Operation Iraqi Freedom from March to May 2003. Two Coast Guard units, PSUs 311 and 313, were assigned to defend the MABOT and KAAOT gas oil platforms (GOPLATS) off the Iraqi coast after their seizure during the opening nights of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Duluth provided the Coast Guard detachments support by performing significant repairs to platform power sources, quality of life upgrades, command and control system repairs and improvements. More recently Duluth was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for tsunami relief efforts in the Srilanka area.

Commanding Officers (date of command assumption)

CAPT Mark G. Tremaine (December 18, 1965)

CAPT Arthur W. Price, Jr. (August 27, 1966)

CAPT Marcellus T. Pitz (January 23, 1968)

CAPT Roger E. Moore (June 9, 1969)

CAPT John E. Mitchell (October 4, 1970)

CAPT Allen E. Hill (September 6, 1972)

CAPT William S. Whaley (May 4, 1973)

CAPT Peter A. Carroll (April 16, 1975)

CAPT Laurence H. Grimes, Jr. (November 13, 1976)

CAPT Paul C. Matthews, Jr. (May 26, 1978)

CAPT Dennis S. Strole (July 1, 1980)

CAPT Peter F. Hedley (December 21, 1981)

CAPT Kenneth R. Barry (March 3, 1984)

CAPT Leonard F. Picotte (February 22, 1986)

CAPT John I. "Jack" Dow (February 18, 1988)

CAPT John C. McKinley (August 15, 1989)

CAPT Terry E. Magee (September 6, 1991)

CAPT Richard B. Ormsbee (March 19, 1993)

CAPT Paul H. Stevens (September 2, 1994)

CDR Donald S. Inbody (May 21, 1996)

CDR Paul A. Cruz (December 19, 1997)

CDR Glenn M. Brunner (June 17, 1999)

CDR Shaun Gillilland (February 28, 2001)

CDR Charles G. Emmert (September 12, 2002)

CDR Larry D. Grippin (March 30, 2004)

External links

This article includes information collected from the public domain sources Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Naval Vessel Register.


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