USS Dubuque (LPD-8)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2009)|
|Namesake:||the city of Dubuque, Iowa|
|Ordered:||25 January 1963|
|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(s):||The Mighty 8|
|Status:||Decommissioned June 2011|
|Class and type:||Austin-class|
|Type:||amphibious transport dock (LPD)|
|Draft:||23 ft (7.0 m) maximum|
|Decks:||well deck 7,000 sq. feet|
|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
|Capacity:||cargo capacity 2,500 tons|
|Complement:||24 officers, 396 enlisted, 840 marine troops, 90 flag/staff personnel|
|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 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.
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. 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 pm. 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.
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. . 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.
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.
USS Dubuque was officially decommissioned on 30 June 2011
On 10 June 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. The Incident is today taught as part of the Navy's course on ethics, for ship captains.
Swine flu outbreak
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.
According to the Navy Awards website , 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.
- "Tails Through Time: Operation MARHUK", http://aviationtrivia.blogspot.com/2011/02/operation-marhuk-combat-debut-of.htm
- "US navy halts aid vessel over flu". BBC News. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "U.S. forces board pirate-captured vessel, seize control". CNN. 10 September 2010.
- Liewer, Steve, "Suspected flu outbreak forces Navy ship to scrub mission", San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 May 2009.
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