USS Oak Hill (LSD-51)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Oak Hill.
USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) awaiting transit through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea (30 January 2007).
USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) transits the Suez Canal into the Red Sea.
Career
Namesake: Oak Hill
Ordered: 27 March 1991
Laid down: 21 September 1992
Launched: 11 June 1994
Commissioned: 8 June 1996
Homeport: Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia
Motto: Nation's Protector
Status: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: Crest of the USS Oak Hill
General characteristics
Class & type: Harpers Ferry
Type: Dock landing ship
Displacement: 12,314 tons (light)
19,600 tons (full)
Length: 609 ft 7 in
Beam: 84 ft
Draft: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Decks: 12
Installed power: 4 Fairbanks Morse 12 cylinder opposed piston Generators
Propulsion: 4 Colt Industries, 16-cylinder diesel engines, 2 shafts, 33,000 shp (25 MW)
Speed: 24.5+ knots (45.37 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 landing craft air cushion (LCAC) or 1 landing craft unit (LCU)
Capacity: 15 amphibious assault vehicles, 2 M1A1 Abrams tanks
Troops: Marine detachment: 402 + 102 surge
Complement: 22 officers, 397 enlisted
Armament: 2 × 25 mm Mk 38 cannons
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
2 × Rolling Airframe Missile
6 × .50 caliber M2HB machine guns

USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) is a Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. Oak Hill is the second United States Navy ship to be named after Oak Hill, the home of U.S. President James Monroe.

Overview[edit]

As of September 2013, the USS Oak Hill is commanded by Commander Bryan Carmichael, U.S. Navy. The ship is currently homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and is assigned to Amphibious Squadron 4.[1]

Oak Hill honors the residence of James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States. Monroe often traveled to and from the Capitol on horseback, carrying his state papers in his saddle bags. The Monroe Doctrine was penned at Oak Hill, and subsequently delivered at an 1823 Congressional address which asserted that the Western Hemisphere was never to be colonized again. It further stated that any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be perceived as a direct threat to the U.S. This doctrine continues to shape our national policy, and is the inspiration for the Ship’s Motto: Nations’ Protector. In 1830, Monroe went to live with his daughter in New York, and a year later Oak Hill passed out of family hands. Today, Oak Hill remains a private residence for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas DeLashmutt. USS Oak Hill is the second ship to honor the residence, and serves as a fitting monument to President Monroe and an important part of American History.[2]

USS Oak Hill (LSD 7) 1944-1947, 1951-1973[edit]

USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) was laid down on 21 September 1992, by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, Louisiana. The ship was launched on 11 June 1994 and commissioned on 8 June 1996. USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) is the second US warship to bear the name, Oak Hill.[3]

World War II[edit]

The first USS Oak Hill (LSD-7) was commissioned 5 Jan 1944, under Commander Carl A. Peterson. She was originally designated as APM-7, and designed as a troop/artillery/cargo transport, and amphibious floating dry-dock. She participated in WWII Asian Pacific Campaigns with five Battle Stars awarded. Other operations included: Marianas operation: Capture and occupation of Saipan, June 15–20, 1944. Western Caroline Islands operation: Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands, Anguar, September 5–21, 1944. Leyte operation: Leyte landings, October 20, 1944. Luzon operation: Lingayen Gulf landings, January 9, 1945. Okinawa Gunto operation: Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, April 1–10, 1945. USS Oak Hill (LSD 7) was decommissioned 17 Mar 1947.[4]

Korean War[edit]

USS Oak Hill (LSD 7) was re-commissioned 26 Jan 1951, after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea and assigned to the Pacific Fleet, where she participated in “Operation Blue Jay” in Arctic waters. Additionally, she took part in the atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, August 1951 - December 1952. Following that duty, she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and home ported in Norfolk, VA. In January 1955, Oak Hill returned to San Diego and Pacific Fleet duty, departing for her first regular Western Pacific deployment on March 31 of that year. In 1958, during a western Pacific tour, Oak Hill provided supplies to the Nationalist Chinese offshore islands as they withstood shelling by Chinese Communist guns. She completed additional annual western Pacific deployments from 1958-1965.[5]

Vietnam War[edit]

Oak Hill (LSD 7) was awarded 6 BATTLE STARS for her efforts during several Vietnam War campaigns. Vietnam Defense from October 27–28, 1965. Vietnamese Counteroffensive from January 1–1 April 1966. Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II from March 4 - April 23, 1967. Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III from June 2 - August 2, 1967. Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V from September - November 1968.[6]

USS Oak Hill (LSD 7) was decommissioned in 1973.

USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) 1996-Present[edit]

USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) was commissioned 8 June 1996 and is a Harpers Ferry-class Dock Landing Ship. The Harpers Ferry-class (LSD 49-52) is the Cargo Variant of the Whidbey Island-class (LSD 41-48) Dock Landing Ship.

Shortly after commissioning, Oak Hill served as command and control ship for the recovery of TWA Flight 800 wreckage.

February–July 2000: Deployed with USS Wasp (LHD 1) Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) in the Mediterranean Sea in support of exercises Dynamic Mix and Noble Shirley.

May 2001: Opened for public tours at Fleet Week at Port Everglades, Florida.

February–August 2002: Deployed with USS Wasp (LHD 1) ARG and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

January–March 2005: Deployed to the Caribbean Sea as part of the SAIPAN Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) in support of a New Horizons humanitarian assistance to Haiti.

January–May 2006: Deployed with USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Vicksburg (CG 49) to the Persian Gulf in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).

January–July 2007: Deployed with the BATAAN Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) to the Horn of Africa in support of the GWOT.

March–October 2008: Surge deployed to the Horn of Africa to conduct maritime interdiction operations (MIO) in support of the GWOT.

June–August 2009: Deployed to South America in support of the multi-national amphibious exercise, Southern Partnership Station ‘09.

July 4, 2011: Participated in Independence Day activities in Boston with USS CONSTITUTION, through public tours, ceremonial guard, and training.

October–December, 2011: Deployed to South America in support of the multi-national amphibious exercise, Southern Partnership Station ’11.

May 2014: Flagship for New York Fleet Week at Pier 92 in Manhattan.

(Scheduled) September 2014: Flagship for “Star Spangled Celebration” (bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812) at Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD.

Coat of arms[edit]

Shield[edit]

The dark blue and gold represent the U.S. Navy. The eagle’s head, derived from the Coat of Arms of the Monroe family, represents both the heritage of the home Oak Hill for which the ship is named, and also the United States. The compass rose symbolizes navigation and a world-wide scope of operations. The anchor represents the trials and tribulations in the life of a sailor. A fouled anchor is the worst enemy. Gold stands for excellence, red for courage and sacrifice, and white for integrity.

Crest[edit]

The torch, derived from the Statue of Liberty’s torch, symbolizes freedom, and also refers to the protection denoted in the ship’s motto. The gold mullets record the five Battle Stars awarded to the first USS OAK HILL (LSD 7) for service in World War II. Gold signifies excellence.

Supporters[edit]

The crossed Navy and Marine Corps officer swords symbolizes the ship’s united mission with the United States Marine Corps in amphibious operations.

References[edit]