USS Rushmore (LSD-47)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Rushmore.
USS Rushmore (LSD-47), leaving San Diego, 6 January 2003.
Career (United States)
Name: USS Rushmore
Namesake: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Ordered: 11 December 1985
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Cost: $149 million
Laid down: 9 November 1987
Launched: 6 May 1989
Sponsored by: Mrs. Meredith Brokaw
Christened: 6 May 1989
Commissioned: 1 June 1991
Homeport: Naval Base San Diego
Motto: Nobility Power
Status: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: USS Rushmore LSD-47 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Whidbey Island / LSD-41
Type: Dock Landing Ship
Displacement: 10,560 tons (light)
15,165 tons (full)
Length: 609 ft (186 m)
Beam: 84 ft (26 m)
Draft: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: 4 Colt Industries, 16-cylinder diesel engines, 2 shafts, 33,000 shp (25 MW)
Speed: 20+ knots (37+ km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
4 LCAC or 3 Landing Craft Utility (on deck: 1 RHIB (7m), 1 RHIB (11m), and 1 LCPL)
Troops: USMC Landing Force: 27 officers, 375 enlisted + 102 surge
Crew: 22 officers, 391 enlisted
Armament: 2 × 25 mm Mk 38 Mod 2 cannons
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
2 × Rolling Airframe Missile
6 × .50 caliber M2HB machine guns
Aviation facilities: 2 helicopter landing spots, no hangar

USS Rushmore (LSD-47) is a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was the second Navy ship to be named for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She is the seventh ship in her class of dock landing ships and the fourth ship in that class to serve in the United States Pacific Fleet.

Rushmore (LSD-47) was laid down on 9 November 1987, by the Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans; launched on 6 May 1989, sponsored by Mrs. Meredith Brokaw, wife of NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw; and commissioned on 1 June 1991, at New Orleans.

Mission[edit]

The assigned mission of the dock landing ship is to transport and launch loaded amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel in amphibious assaults by landing craft and amphibious vehicles. It can render limited docking repair service to small ships and craft.

General Comments[edit]

The Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship provides for greater storage space of weapons and equipment, improved facilities for embarked troops, greater range of operations, and the capability to embark either conventional landing craft or LCAC. The ships incorporate materiel handling equipment including elevators, package/roller conveyors and forklifts, pallet transporters, and a turntable. The turntable is located between the well deck and the helicopter deck forward of the boat deck to assist in the rapid turnaround of vehicles and equipment during loading/offloading operations.

History[edit]

1990s[edit]

The ship's first assignment was to deliver three Air Cushioned Landing Craft (LCAC) to Camp Pendleton, California from Panama City, Florida. Along the way, Rushmore conducted a port visit in Jamaica, traversed the Panama Canal, and visited Rodman, Panama. Camp Pendleton was the last stop before arriving at her homeport of NS San Diego. During her first six-month deployment, Rushmore spearheaded the beach landing on Somalia during Operation Restore Hope. The largest military humanitarian operation in history, Restore Hope was designed to provide food and medical relief to the starving people of Somalia.

Rushmore's 1994 WestPac deployment came almost one year ahead of schedule. She deployed with only four weeks' notice and participated in Operation Support Hope off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya, the USLO relocation in Somalia, and exercises with forces of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. During this deployment, Rushmore also was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Rushmore's 1996 deployment followed a complete and highly successful training cycle during which Rushmore earned the Blue E and the Battle E. This deployment provided numerous international training opportunities for the Tarawa Amphibious Readiness Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) including Exercise Cobra Gold '96 with Thailand, Exercise Infinite Moonlight with Jordan, Exercise Red Reef with Saudi Arabia, and MEUEX '96 with Kuwait. Rushmore demonstrated its superior adaptability throughout deployment by becoming the first LSD-41-class ship to employ Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) for the SPECWAR Detachment.

Rushmore concluded 1996 with a port visit to Mazatlán, Mexico. The ship earned its second consecutive Battle E in 1996.

Rushmore is the test platform for the Smart Ship program known as Gator 17. The ship was outfitted with several new technologies to reduce workload and manning levels. Information from the program aboard Rushmore will be used to assist in the design of the LPD-17 class amphibious ships. Installation was completed at the end of 1997.

The USS Rushmore at NS Pearl Harbor during RIMPAC (2004).

Rushmore deployed in 1999 with the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU). During this deployment, Rushmore participated in Exercise Iron Magic with the United Arab Emirates and Exercise Red Reef with Saudi Arabia. Rushmore also had the distinction of becoming the first United States Naval warship to visit Doha, Qatar in 10 years. Other port visits included Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Guam, Australia and Hawaii. On 12 March 1999, the ship made history when then Commander Michelle J. Howard (as of December 2013 she is the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and confirmed by the US Senate to the rank of Admiral (4 star rank) became its commanding officer and the first African American woman to Command a US Navy ship. Rushmore returned to San Diego in December 1999 and became the first "Smart Ship" to complete a six-month Western Pacific deployment.

2000s[edit]

With the new millennium, came a year of local operations for Rushmore.The Mighty Rushmore participated in CARAT 2001 in cooperation with our allies in the Western Pacific, South China Sea and Southeast Asia. Returning home just days prior to the September 11 attacks, The Rushmore began preparations to deploy to areas of national security interests. After coming out of "the yards" the USS Rushmore participated in RIMPAC 2002 with a host of nations off the shores of Hawaii. The ship set sail in the early month of January 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

The ship deployed on 6 December 2004 once again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 5). On the way to the Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility, a cataclysmic earthquake occurred, which would change the course of Rushmore and begin a massive U.S. military humanitarian operation, dubbed Operation Unified Assistance. The powerful tsunami that caused tidal waves and flooding in Southeast Asia took the lives of more than 100,000 people in a matter of hours. USS Rushmore and the elements of Expeditionary Strike Group FIVE were called into action.

The ship became an afloat staging base for military helicopters to refuel and transport supplies. USS Rushmore launched both LCACs bringing tons of food and water ashore for distribution to survivors. Once the operation ended, Rushmore reset a course to the Persian Gulf to support Maritime Security Operations, and help defend Iraq's Kwar Al Amaya and Al Basra Oil Platforms. The Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Kuwait, and went further north into areas of Iraq before they were brought back on board in early April.

Rushmore sailors enjoyed two port visits during their two months in the Persian Gulf, one visit to the Mid-Eastern country of Bahrain, the other, a trip to the port of Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. During the transit home, Rushmore stopped for a port visit to Cairns, Australia. Rushmore and her crew of more than 330 Sailors returned to the ship's homeport of San Diego, California on 6 June 2005.

The ship completed a three-month maintenance period and participated in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) off the coast of Hawaii from June to August 2006.

Rushmore began 2007 by completing work ups with the Bonhomme Richard (ESG 5). They loaded more than 400 Marines of the 13th MEU onboard along with their equipment to prepare for the transit to the Middle East.

On 16 February 2007, Rushmore was awarded the 2006 Battle "E" award.[1]

As 10 April 2007 arrived the Rushmore was ready to get underway for deployment to the Middle East. The Rushmore has visited several different ports, including Guam, Singapore, Jebel Ali, Dubai and Bahrain.

On 1 December 2007, the Rushmore became the first ship since the September 11 terrorist attacks to host a United States Navy open house while inport Seal Beach, California. Thousands showed up to tour the ship. The crew took visitors through the bridge, medical center, Combat Information Center, and other external places on the ship.[citation needed]

Rushmore certified in ULTRA-C in May 2008 and sailed up to Seattle, Washington, to take part in the Centennial Celebration of the Great White Fleet on 22 May. She participated in a parade of ships and later hosted tours to both the general public and guests for the gala. In late September 2008, Rushmore sailed to Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, to serve as the test platform for developing ASW systems in the Nanoose Firing Range. While there, Rushmore had a three-day port visit and was hosted by HMCS Regina (FFH 334).

Upon their return home, Rushmore finalized their preparations for the Congressionally-mandated Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) on 27 October 2008. She also underwent ULTRA-E in November 2008.

2010s[edit]

On 12 July 2012, the Rushmore successfully completed its material inspection by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) assessment and was found fit for sustained combat operations.

On 17 September 2012, the Rushmore set sail with the USS Peleliu (LHA-5), and USS Green Bay (LPD-20) as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Ready Group (PHIBRON) Three routine deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. This deployment included a brief port visit at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; participation in Exercise Crocodilo in Timor-Leste; a port visit at Darwin, Australia; participation in Exercise Eager Mace in Kuwait; a brief port visit to Naval Support Activity Bahrain; participation in Exercise Iron Magic in UAE; participation in Exercise Red Reef in Saudi Arabia; a port visit to Kahlifa Port near Abu Dhabi, UAE; and an equipment washdown and aqricultural inspection in Aqaba, Jordan.

Commanding Officers[edit]

The commanding officer (CO) of the USS Rushmore (LSD-47), is the United States Navy officer who is the most senior officer on ship. The CO is the ultimate authority over operations of the Rushmore and her crew.

List of commanding officers[edit]

# Name Start of tenure End of tenure
14 CDR Tate Robinson[2] 1 December 2012
13 CDR Brian James Finman[2] 15 October 2010 1 December 2012
12 CDR William Grotewold[2] 12 January 2009 15 October 2010
11 CDR Calvin D. Slocumb[2] 18 August 2007 12 January 2009
10 CDR Cathal S. O'Connor[2] 24 February 2006 18 August 2007
9 CDR Richard Newton Fox[2] 15 February 2004 24 February 2006
8 CDR Clayton Douglas Saunders[2] 16 August 2002 15 February 2004
7 CDR Peter Joseph Fanta[2] 21 November 2000 16 August 2002
6 CDR Michelle J. Howard[2] 12 March 1999 21 November 2000
5 CDR Thomas Robert. Williams[2] 24 April 1998 12 March 1999
4 CDR Craig C. Madsen[2] 4 July 1996 24 April 1998
3 CDR Forrest L. Touchberry[2] 7 October 1994 4 July 1996
2 CDR James III Poplar[2] 22 Jan 1993 7 October 1994
1 CDR Bruce E Dunscombe[2] . 1 June 1991 22 Jan 1993

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Paula M. Ludwick (19 February 2007). "Surface Force Ships, Crews Earn Battle "E"". Navy Newsstand. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/01089.htm

References[edit]

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

External links[edit]