USS Nassau (LHA-4)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Nassau.
USS Nassau (LHA-4) conducting flight deck qualifications with air combat elements of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (2007).
USS Nassau in the Atlantic Ocean in November 2007
Career (US)
Name: USS Nassau
Namesake: Battle of Nassau
Awarded: 6 November 1970
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 13 August 1973
Launched: 21 January 1978
Commissioned: 28 July 1979
Decommissioned: 31 March 2011
Homeport: Naval Station Norfolk
Motto: "First from the Sea"
Nickname: LHA-4 = LynnHaven Anchorage 4ever; LHA = Leaving Home Again; LHA = Largest Hotel Afloat; LHA = Largest Hospital Afloat; NASSAU = Never A Set Schedule Always Underway; Big Nasty
Honors and
awards:
Awarded first Battle "E" November 1983
Status: Decommissioned
Badge: USS Nassau COA.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship
Tonnage: 25,884 tons
Displacement: 39,300 tons
Length: 833.34 ft (254.00 m)
Beam: 106.6 ft (32.5 m)
Draft: 26.25 ft (8.00 m)
Propulsion: Steam Turbine
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Troops: 1,900+ Marines
Complement: 82 officers, 882 enlisted men
Armament: 2 × RAM launchers
4 × 25 mm Mk 38 cannons
2 × Phalanx CIWS
5 × .50-caliber M2HB machine guns
Aircraft carried: 6 AV-8B Harrier attack planes, 4 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, 12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, 9 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, 4 UH-1N Huey helicopters

USS Nassau (LHA-4) was a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship. She was capable of transporting more than 3,000 US United States Navy and United States Marine Corps personnel. Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, laid the ship's keel on 13 August 1973; she was commissioned on 28 July 1979.[1] She was decommissioned on 31 March 2011.[2]

Technical Data[edit]

She had 1,400 compartments, nine elevators and two horizontal conveyors. She also had two boilers – the largest ever manufactured for the United States Navy. They can generate 400 tons of steam per hour and develop 140,000 horsepower or 104 megawatts (MW). Nassau '​s electrical power subsystem creates 14 MW to provide electrical power for the ship. She had air conditioning equipment rated at a total of 1,500 tons (5.3 MW)[citation needed] and could ballast 12,000 tons of seawater for trimming the ship to receive and discharge landing craft from the well deck.

She was constructed with more than 20,000 tons of steel, 3,000 tons of aluminum, 400 miles (600 km) of cable and 80 miles (130 km) of pipe. She had a 900 horsepower (671 kW) bow thruster for lateral movement at low speeds that could move the bow with 20,000 pounds of force (90 kN)—equivalent to half the pulling power of a diesel railroad locomotive. She had been fitted with a 300-bed hospital, four medical and three dental operating rooms. Her cargo areas were capable of holding tanks, trucks, artillery and large warfare supply needs.

Operational history[edit]

OV-10 Bronco aboard Nassau in 1983

Nassau was deployed to Beirut with the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit in February 1984, less than four months after the Beirut barracks bombing.[3]

In support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the Nassau deployed to the Middle East for over eight months on only eight days' notice. On leaving the United States, the Nassau became the flagship for Commander, Amphibious Task Force and the 4th MEB's Commanding General. In the last week of the war, she was employed as a "Harrier Carrier", tasked with operating primarily as a STOVL attack carrier for Marine AV-8B Harrier II fighters.[4]

Nassau participated in several more operations throughout the 1990s, including Operations Support Democracy, Deny Flight, Allied Force and Noble Anvil. These operations were in support of US foreign policy objectives; she also participated in numerous Navy and joint exercises that took her to numerous locations in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Adriatic regions, including Haiti, Spain, Morocco, Italy, France, Greece, Israel, Albania, Zaire and Kosovo.

An AV-8B Harrier commences its launch run from Nassau in 2003
An MV-22 Osprey lands on Nassau in 2007

Nassau received her first "Battle Effectiveness "E" award"[5] in November 1983, with a second in 2007 - these awards are presented annually to ships that demonstrate the highest state of combat readiness in their group and their ability to execute their wartime tasks.[6]

She deployed in February 2008 as the flagship of the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group in support of Maritime Security Operations and Theater Security Cooperation efforts in the Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

In addition to her primary role as a Marine transport, Nassau has served as a flagship; a logistics hub for incoming and outgoing mail, cargo and other supplies; combat search and rescue and the tactical recovery and rescue of downed aircraft and personnel.

In August 2008, she had returned from deployment and was undergoing maintenance. At 4:30 pm Central Time on Thursday, 18 September 2008, KHOU News 11 in Houston, Texas announced that Nassau was coming to the aid of Galveston Island, following the landfall of Hurricane Ike. Nassau anchored 7 miles (11 km) offshore and troops deployed to the island with heavy machinery to aid with the clean-up of the devastation caused by the hurricane.

In January 2010, Nassau left her Virginia port carrying the 24th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) on a routine deployment of approximately eight months. The 24th MEU, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, consists of a ground combat element, a battalion landing team, an aviation combat element, a logistics combat element and a command element.[7] The Nassau, accompanied by the USS Mesa Verde and the USS Ashland, comprises the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which supports maritime security operations and more in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas. The 5th Fleet covers the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean; the 6th Fleet encompasses the Mediterranean Sea.[8]

Nassau was diverted to Haiti on 21 January 2010, to assist with the international humanitarian aid effort following the earthquake.[9]

After completing its humanitarian efforts in Haiti, the Nassau continued on its mission to the Middle East, eventually tying the all time Navy record of 159 consecutive days out to sea without a port call.

Nassau was decommissioned in Norfolk, Virginia on 31 March 2011.

She is currently residing in Beaumont, Texas, with the MARAD National Defense Reserve Fleet ships.

References[edit]

External links[edit]