USS Coronado (AGF-11)

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USS Coronado after RIMPAC '98.JPEG
USS Coronado in 1998
United States
Name: Coronado
Namesake: City of Coronado, California
Ordered: 15 May 1964
Builder: Lockheed Shipbuilding
Laid down: 3 May 1965
Launched: 30 July 1966
Commissioned: 23 May 1970
Decommissioned: 30 September 2006
Reclassified: AGF
Refit: 1980 (Conversion from LPD to AGF)
Homeport: NAVSTA San Diego, California, U.S.
Motto: Semper Ductor (Always a Leader)
Nickname(s): "Building 11"
Fate: Sunk as part of live-fire exercise Valiant Shield 2012.[1][2]
Status: 3,045 fathoms (5,569 m) deep at 11°32′6″N 144°31′52″E / 11.53500°N 144.53111°E / 11.53500; 144.53111[citation needed]
Badge: The ship's crest of USS Coronado (AGF-11)
General characteristics
Class and type: Austin-class amphibious transport dock
Displacement: 16,405 tons full, 10,878 tons light,   5,527 tons dead
Length: 173.4 m (569 ft) overall, 167 m (548 ft) waterline
Beam: 32.9 m (108 ft) extreme, 25.6 m (84 ft) waterline
Draught: 6.7 m (22 ft) maximum, 7 m (23 ft) limit
Propulsion: steam
Speed: 21 knots
Complement: 106 officers, 1247 enlisted

USS Coronado (AGF-11) (originally LPD-11) was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after the city of the same name in the U.S. state of California. She was designed as an Austin-class amphibious transport dock (LPD), one of seven fitted with an additional superstructure level for command ship duties. The ship was launched on 1 July 1966, commissioned 23 May 1970, and became the most advanced command ship in the world. The ship was the first combatant ship in the United States Navy to integrate women as full-time crew members.[3]

Coronado was decommissioned on 30 September 2006, was used for target practice during Valiant Shield 2012 exercises, and was sunk in the Marianas Island Range Complex on 12 September 2012.[4]


The Coronado's keel was laid down on 1 May 1965 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington. She was launched on 1 July 1966. After two years of labor shortages and a 12-month strike, she was commissioned 23 May 1970.

First assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in the 1970s, Coronado conducted extensive operations, deploying on numerous occasions to the Caribbean Sea and Mediterranean Sea, as well as northern Europe.

In 1980, the Coronado was re-designated an Auxiliary Command Ship (AGF-11). Her first assignment was to relieve the La Salle (AGF-3) as command ship for Commander, U.S. Middle East Force, stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Reassigned in October 1985, the Coronado relieved Puget Sound (AD-38) as the command ship of Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. During a ten-month tour with the Sixth Fleet, Coronado operated out of Gaeta, Italy, participating in operations in the Gulf of Sidra and strikes against Libyan terrorist support facilities.

In July 1986, the Coronado was relieved as Sixth Fleet command ship and ordered to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to become the command ship for Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. The admiral and his staff embarked on board Coronado in November 1986. Subsequently, Coronado was relieved as Third Fleet command ship and deployed to the Persian Gulf to assume duties as command ship for Commander, U.S. Middle East Force in January 1988. During this period she served as flagship for Operation Praying Mantis, the largest American naval action since World War II.

Upon her return to Pearl Harbor on 9 November 1988, Coronado again assumed her duties as Commander, U.S. Third Fleet command ship.

USS Coronado remained homeported in Hawaii until August 1991, when crew and staff changed homeports to San Diego.

On 28 February 1994, USS Coronado became the first combatant ship in the United States Navy to embark women as part of its regular, full-time crew.[1]

Since then, Third Fleet and Coronado had become the center for naval innovation and technology experimentation. In November 1998 a large ship modification was completed. Incorporating the latest network-centric technology, Coronado became the most advanced command ship in the world.[5]

Sea-Based Battle Lab[edit]

In October 2001, the Office of the Secretary of the Navy assigned Coronado to host the Navy's Sea-Based Battle Lab (SBBL), an afloat platform for testing prototype systems and software, evaluating future naval capabilities, and assessing operational compatibility and possible further implementation throughout the United States Navy.

Recent developments in technology have spawned significant advances in naval warfare capabilities. Wireless and Web-based tools, along with new weapon systems, have enabled naval forces to conduct precision operations with greater synchronization, expedience, and potency. With over 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) of reconfigurable command space and one of the world's most advanced naval C4I suites, SBBL offers a unique shipboard environment that facilitates the evaluation of research for maritime and joint operations.

The Third Fleet J9 Directorate was responsible for managing the SBBL. Partnered with other services, national laboratories, academia, and industry, the Third Fleet staff developed joint exercises and experiments for evaluating the following in an operational environment:

  • JTF Command Center organization and configuration
  • Tactics, techniques, and procedures
  • Naval and joint doctrine
  • Biometrics (human feature recognition)
  • Wireless applications
  • Knowledge management
  • Web-based applications
  • Logistics
  • Humanitarian assistance/disaster relief

The staff and crew provided an unbiased evaluation of the proposal's viability and functionality. Promising, mature initiatives are endorsed for advancement into the beta testing cycle on board the next deploying carrier battle group (or amphibious ready group) and/or into the acquisition process.

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

Late 2003 saw a see-saw change for the Coronado. In November it was decommissioned, transferred to the Military Sealift Command and redesignated T-AGF-11. However, it was concluded shortly thereafter that the operations the ship engaged in required it to be a warship and thus it was transferred back to the Navy and recommissioned, but kept a large civilian complement within the crew from the MSC. In 2004, the 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), went into dry dock and Coronado temporarily assumed 7th Fleet command responsibilities. On 27 September 2004, Blue Ridge returned to duty as the command ship.

Coronado was decommissioned at the end of Fiscal Year 2006.

On 12 September 2012, the Coronado was sunk by a number of warships, and now serves as an artificial reef for the Marianas region.[1][2] The ship now rests 3045 fathoms deep at coordinates 11°32′6″N 144°31′52″E / 11.53500°N 144.53111°E / 11.53500; 144.53111.[citation needed]

Commanding officers[edit]

Commanding Officers of USS Coronado (LPD-11)/(AGF-11)[6]
Order Name Eventual Flag Rank Picture Assumed Command Relieved
1 Grant Joseph Walker CaptainGrantWalkerUSN.jpg 23 May 1970 13 August 1971
2 Sylvester Robert Foley, Jr. ADM ADM Sylvester Foley.JPEG 13 August 1971 30 May 1972
3 Martin Jerome Twite, Jr. 30 May 1972 2 June 1974
4 Eric Neil Fenno EricFenoUSN1968.jpg 2 June 1974 20 August 1975
5 James Madison Snyder 26 August 1975 26 May 1976
6 Robert Joseph Ianucci 26 May 1976 4 June 1976
7 Georges E. Le Blanc Jr. 4 June 1976 11 November 1977
8 Thomas Paul Scott 11 November 1977 1 June 1979
9 Denis Thomas Schwaab RADM 1 June 1979 13 December 1980
10 Harry Patrick Kober, Jr. CaptainHarryKoberUSN.jpg 13 December 1980 19 December 1981
11 David Ervin Buck CaptDavidErvinBuckUSN1982.jpg 19 December 1981 6 December 1982
12 Robert Harvey Fergussen 6 December 1982 1 June 1984
13 Earle Godfrey Schweizer Jr. CaptainEarleSchweizerUSN.jpg 1 June 1984 23 September 1986
14 John Baptiste LaPlante VADM CaptainJohnLaplanteUSN1988.jpg 23 September 1986 25 April 1988
15 Robert Charles Williamson, Jr. RADM CaptainRobertWilliamsonUSN1988.jpg 25 April 1988 1 July 1989
16 Richard Claggett Williams III RADM Richard Claggett Williams III.jpg 1 July 1989 1 August 1991
17 Richard Jerome Nibe RADM AdmiralRichardNibe.jpg 1 August 1991 3 April 1993
18 Thomas Francis Noonan CaptainThomasNoonanUSN.jpg 3 April 1993 30 July 1994
19 Isaac Eugene Richardson III RADM Richardson Isaac E III.jpg 30 July 1994 13 December 1995
20 Michael Harold Miller VADM Michael H. Miller official photo.jpg 13 December 1995 16 June 1997
21 Thomas J. Ross Thomas J Ross USN.jpg 16 June 1997 11 December 1998
22 James Allen McDonell James A McDonell USN.jpg 11 December 1998 7 January 2000
23 Wade Carl Tallman 7 January 2000 3 May 2001
24 Ted Nelson (Twig) Branch VADM Thumb VADM Branch, Ted.jpg 3 May 2001 23 August 2002
25 Kevin Michael Donegan RADM RADM KevinDonegan USN.jpg 23 August 2002 14 November 2003
26 Kerry J. Porterfield (Military Sealift Command) Kerry J Porterfield MSC.jpg 14 November 2003 19 February 2004
27 Christopher David Noble 19 February 2004 25 February 2005


Historic Images of USS Coronado
This group of sailors were plankowner members of the OE Division of the Coronado. Photo taken in 1972. Pictured are... Back Left-to-right: William Enzweiler, Harry Tiel, Vic Barish, Ron Mueller, Paul Ackerman, Doug Chirhart, ET1 Young. Middle: David Kilpatrick. Front Left-to-Right: Leslie Gaiter, Frank Hunter, Bill Bobbing, Ron "Gomer" Pyle. 
USS Coronado on blocks in dry dock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1980 during refit that converted the ship from Landing Platform Dock (LPD-11) to Auxiliary flagship (AGF-11). 
Flagships USS La Salle (Left) and Coronado (right) moored in Bahrain in 1980. Coronado was relieving LaSalle as the flagship for the Commander, Middle East Force (now called United States Naval Forces Central Command). Due to the nature of U.S. flagships individually covering large geographic areas, it was a rare occurrence for both ships to be in the same port. 
This large bronze plaque hung on the quarterdeck of the Coronado for decades. The year 1970 indicates the year the ship was commissioned. The year 1943 indicates the year the previous ship of the same name, USS Coronado (PF-38) was commissioned. It also lists four operations during the Second World War in which the earlier ship was engaged. The current whereabouts of the plaque are unknown and it is feared to have been scrapped. 
Left to Right: USS Ainsworth, USS Bigelow, and Coronado pier-side in Mina Salman, Bahrain in the summer of 1981. Coronado, the flagship of the U.S. Middle East Forces at the time, was painted white as is tradition for flagships since the Great White Fleet
Coronado in Sicily 4 July, 1983. US Navy Photo by LI2 David Watts 
Coronado in dry dock at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1984. US Navy Photo by LI2 David Watts. 
The ruddler and starboard shaft of the Coronado while in dry dock at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1984. The screw is behind the green tarp. US Navy Photo by LI2 David Watts. 
Men work beneath the starboard side of the Coronado while in dry dock at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1984. The ships's keel is on the left. US Navy Photo by LI2 David Watts. 
Coronado on the Delaware River while leaving the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in March 1985. US Navy Photo by LI2 David Watts 
USS Coronado (left) participates in underway replenishment with USS John A. Moore on 1 April 1988. 
USS Coronado (AGF-11), left, the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS Ohio, center, and the guided missile cruiser USS Worden lie tied up at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station, 1 January 1989. 
A close-up view of twin Mark 33, 3"/50 caliber gun guns aboard Coronado. These guns were removed from the ship in 1992. 
Change of Command ceremony of USS Coronado (AGF-11) on 3 April 1993 aboard the ship while moored at Pier J, Naval Air Station North Island on San Diego Bay. Captain Thomas Noonan (saluting left) relieved Captain Richard Nibe (saluting right) while Vice Admiral Jerry L. Unruh (seated left), the Commander Third Fleet, Commodore Thomas Hopson (standing right), Commander Amphibious Group Three, and the ship's executive officer, Commander Charles Eis (seated right) observe. 
USS Coronado, at Pier Juliet, Naval Air Station North Island, October 1994. San Diego–Coronado Bridge in the distance. 
USS Coronado, Commander Third Fleet flagship, is assisted by the large harbor tugs Neodesha (YTB-815) and Waxahachie (YTB-814) as she departs Pearl Harbor during RIMPAC "98, 20 July 1998. US Navy photo # 980720-N-2619S-002 by PH2 August Sigur. 
USS Coronado at Seattle, WA., 4 August 1999. US Navy photo # 990804-N-6939. 
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers of the U.S. Air Force, visits USS Coronado in July 2002, as it is docked in San Diego, California
USS Coronado enters the Port of Yokosuka, Japan to substitute USS Blue Ridge as 7th Fleet flagship while Blue Ridge completes a scheduled maintenance period. Date: 24 March 2004 
USS Coronado enters the Port of Yokosuka, Japan to substitute USS Blue Ridge as 7th Fleet flagship while Blue Ridge completes a scheduled maintenance period. Date: 24 March 2004 
USS Coronado enters the Port of Yokosuka, Japan to substitute USS Blue Ridge as 7th Fleet flagship while Blue Ridge completes a scheduled maintenance period. Date: 24 March 2004 
USS Coronado begins its approach alongside the Military Sealift Command Ship (MSC) underway replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) to conduct a replenishment-at-sea on 20 April 2004. 
USS Coronado alongside the Military Command Ship (MSC) underway replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) to conduct a replenishment-at-sea while underway in the Pacific Ocean on 20 April 2004 
Captain Chris Noble, commanding officer USS Coronado, greets the Philippine press shortly after arriving at the former U.S. Navy base on 23 April 2004. 
Lt. Cmdr. Romelda Sadiarin giving a tour of USS Coronado to students from the Philippine Navy's Naval Education and Training Command. Coronado was making a scheduled port visit.The ship was serving as the temporary command ship for U.S. Seventh Fleet while USS Blue Ridge was in a scheduled dry dock maintenance period. April 2004. 
USS Coronado sits in Shimoda Bay, in full dress ship on 14 May 2004. 
Commanding officer of USS Coronado, Capt. Chris Noble, presents Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, with the Admiral’s pendant prior to disembarking the ship and reestablishing his staff aboard USS Blue Ridge during a change-of-flagship ceremony aboard Coronado. 
USS Coronado moored pierside Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, CA. during her decommissioning and transition to MSC ceremony, 25 February 2005. US Navy photo by Larry E. Crutchfield. 
Ex-USS Coronado being towed out of Pearl Harbor by USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52), 17 August 2012, en route to being disposed via SINKEX near Guam the following month. 
The former USS Coronado being bombed during a live-fire exercise on 12 September 2012. 


  1. ^ a b c "U.S. Navy conducts SINKEX as part of Valiant Shield 2012". Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: Commander, United States Pacific Fleet. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Anderson, LTjg Benjamin T. (20 September 2012). "Valiant Shield 2012 Ends". San Diego, California: Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Retrieved 26 September 2012. Joint live fire sank the ex-USS Coronado (AGF-11) in waters 18,270 feet deep, 102 nautical miles South of Guam at about 3:20 pm local time on Sept. 12. 
  3. ^ "Vocera Communications System". BUSINESS WIRE. 2 December 2003. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Casas, Q. Gemma (19 August 2010). "Mariana Islands Range Complex approved". newspaper. Marianas Variety. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "USS Coronado Returns Home". Commander, U.S. Third Fleet. 3 November 2004. In 1998, a large ship modification was completed. Incorporating the latest network technology, Coronado became the most advanced command ship in the world. 
  6. ^ "USS Coronado Commanding Officers". Nav Source Online. 

External links[edit]

Official website