USS Dubuque (LPD-8)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Dubuque.
USS Dubuque (LPD-8)
Career
Name: USS Dubuque
Namesake: the city of Dubuque, Iowa
Ordered: 25 January 1963
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 25 January 1965
Launched: 6 August 1966
Commissioned: 1 September 1967
Decommissioned: 30 June 2011
Homeport: Naval Base San Diego
Motto: Our Country: Heritage, and Future
Nickname: The Mighty 8
Honors and
awards:
Navy Unit Commendation (2)
Meritorious Unit Commendation (3)
Battle Efficiency Award (3)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Status: Decommissioned June 2011
Badge:
Seal of the Dubuque
General characteristics
Class & type: Austin-class
Type: Landing Platform Dock (LPD)
Displacement: 17,252 long tons (17,529 t) light;
9,521 long tons (9,674 t) full;
7,731 long tons (7,855 t) dwt
Length: 569 ft (173 m) overall;
548 ft (167 m) waterline
Beam: 100 ft (30 m) extreme;
84 ft (26 m) waterline
Draft: 23 ft (7.0 m) maximum
Decks: well deck 7,000 sq. feet
Ramps: 2
Installed power: 24,000 per shaft (2 shafts)
Propulsion: Two 600psi Foster-Wheeler boilers, two Delaval steam turbines, two shafts
Speed: 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 RHIB
Capacity: cargo capacity 2,500 tons
Complement: 24 officers, 396 enlisted, 840 marine troops, 90 flag/staff personnel
Crew: Mixed
Armament: Two 25mm Mk 38 chain guns, two 20mm Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS, eight .50-calibre machine guns
Aircraft carried: Two CH-46/CH-53 equivalents, or four UH-1/AH-1 equivalents, or two AV-8B Harriers
Aviation facilities: 1 hangar

USS Dubuque (LPD-8), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Dubuque, Iowa.

USS Dubuque is named after Dubuque, Iowa on the Mississippi River and her founder, Julien Dubuque - a French Canadian explorer. The second ship to bear the name, USS Dubuque was commissioned on 1 September 1967 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia.[1]

History[edit]

Dubuque '​s keel was laid down on 25 January 1965 by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on 6 August 1966 and commissioned on 1 September 1967 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. In November 1967, the ship arrived at her first homeport of San Diego, California after transiting the Panama Canal.

From 1968 until 1975, Dubuque made five Western Pacific deployments that saw extensive duty in Vietnam. In a highly publicized event in October 1968, the ship returned 14 repatriated prisoners of war to North Vietnam. From 1969 until 1971 the ship conducted ten "Keystone Cardinal" troop lifts to Okinawa as part of the "Vietnamization" of the war. Dubuque relieved USS Cleveland (LPD-7) as the launch platform for HMA-369's Marine Hunter-Killer (MARHUK) Operations near Hon La (Tiger Island) off the coast of North Vietnam.[2] From February to June 1973 the ship operated helicopters that conducted naval mine clearance operations in Haiphong Harbor as part of Operation End Sweep. In April 1975 the ship participated in Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon and the rescue of refugees fleeing South Vietnam.

On 15 August 1985 Dubuque departed San Diego for its new homeport of Sasebo, Japan, where she arrived 4 September 1985. There, she joined the Seventh Fleet Overseas Family Residency Program, her primary mission to support the Marine Corps in the Western Pacific.

In May 1988 Dubuque deployed to the Persian Gulf and served as the control ship for mine sweeping operations to protect US-flagged tankers during the Iran–Iraq War. For its participation in this operation, the ship was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation. In 1989 the ship participated in the contingency operation to evacuate American personnel from the Philippines during a failed coup attempt.

Immediately following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Dubuque was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield. The ship functioned as the leading element of Amphibious Ready Group Bravo, which transported Marine Regimental Landing Team Four to Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia during the critical early stages of the multi-national buildup.

In November 1998 Dubuque again deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the Belleau Wood Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) on support of Operation Desert Fox.

On 30 July 1999, Dubuque was relieved by USS Juneau (LPD-10) as part of the forward-deployed naval forces. Since then, she has been once again home-ported in San Diego, California.

From June to September 1999, Dubuque participated in the first SHIP-SWAP with her sister-ship Juneau, where each ship's crew remained in their original home ports, allowing Dubuque to return to the homeport of San Diego.

From September 2006 to May 2007 Dubuque was deployed with the USS Boxer (LHD-4) and the USS Comstock (LSD-45), transporting the 15th MEU to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where among other missions the ship served as a holding facility for Iraqi POWs. Dubuque also assisted in the protection and maintenance of oil platforms in the northern part of the Persian Gulf.

Dubuque deployed again in 2008 with the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group. Her crew participated in the pursuit of identifying pirates and collecting intelligence on piracy off the Gulf of Oman and the Horn of Africa. She also participated in rescuing six mariners from a sinking vessel off the Philippine coast line on the way to the Persian Gulf. [1]. The event was an exemplary incident, which proved the flexibility of U.S. maritime strategy in time of crisis or emergency.

In early May 2009 the Dubuque had to abort a humanitarian aid mission to the South Pacific after a sailor on board developed swine flu. It was later found out that approximately 50 more cases were likely H1N1 (swine flu) also.[3]

On 9 September 2010, Marines attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force launched from the Dubuque and boarded and seized control German flagged MV Magellan Star off the coast of Somalia. The pirates had taken control of the ship the previous day. The Marines captured nine pirates and rescued eleven crew members who had taken refuge in a "safe room" on the ship. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.[4]

USS Dubuque was laid to rest at her decommissioning ceremony June 30, 2011

Refugee Controversy[edit]

On June 10, 1988, while on the way to the Persian Gulf, the Dubuque encountered a boat containing 110 Vietnamese refugees. The boat's engine had failed and they had been adrift for 19 days, with around 20 refugees having already perished. The commander of the Dubuque, Captain Alexander Balian provided the refugees with charts, water and food, though, due to mis-communication, he believed there to be only about 60 refugees and thus provided inadequate quantities and then left to proceed to the Persian Gulf. As a result, 30 more refugees died, some of them being cannibalized by the survivors during the 19 more days that the vessel remained adrift until being rescued by Filipino fishermen. As a result of this incident, Capt. Balian was relieved of command and court-martialed. Upon being found guilty, he received a letter of reprimand.[5]

Swine flu outbreak[edit]

In May 2009 the Navy announced that a sailor on the ship had been confirmed as infected with Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 during the worldwide 2009 swine flu outbreak. Fifty more of the ship's sailors were suspected to have also been infected. As a result, the ship's June 2009 deployment to Oceania in support of the Pacific Partnership program was canceled.[6]

Awards[edit]

Official ribbons as of 3 March 2002[citation needed]

According to the Navy Awards website [2], the Dubuque has received one Navy Unit Commendation, four Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency Awards, three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, three Humanitarian Service Medals and participated in countless amphibious exercises and operations throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]