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USS Wasp (LHD-1)
Vessels of the "Landing Helicopter Dock" (LHD) amphibious assault ship program of the US Navy are named after former USN warships as opposed to the traditional naming convention honoring historical USN battles. In naming "LHD-1" the "Wasp", the US Navy honored no fewer than nine previous USN warships dating back to the first such named vessel fighting in the American Revolution (USS Wasp of 1775). Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) became the lead ship of the Landing Helicopter Deck (LHD) class totaling eight similar vessels, each costing approximately $822 million to procure. The USS Wasp measures just 24 feet shorter than the USS Wasp (CV-18) Essex-class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943 though the LHD-1 is 5,000 tons heavier and has mission capabilities not imagined during World War 2. Her keel was laid down by Ingalls Shipbuilding on May 30th, 1985.
The primary of the USS Wasp LHD-1 mission dedicated to housing and assisting marine force elements using Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) watercraft. Additionally, her capabilities require her to land material for "over-the-beach" assaults, intended to survive the threats posed by hostile shorelines. Air support for beachhead landings are also provided "in-house", this by way of onboard McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II (AV-8B) Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) aircraft which supply the close air support (CAS) air arm required of such operations. The vessel also carries a full complement of medical staff capable of providing intensive frontline medical care for up to 600 military casualties or regular patients. As such, the Wasp can be called upon to undertake humanitarian roles whenever and wherever needed.
The USS Wasp currently (2012) makes her homeport out of Norfolk, Virginia which gives her instant access to the vast waters of the Atlantic Ocean. She measures a running length of 843 feet (257 meters) with a beam of 105 feet (32 meters) while having a draft of 27 feet (8.23 meters). Wasp is built from a relatively new advanced hull design that maximizes the vessels internal space to promote spacious volume while still remaining dimensionally compact. What this has done is eliminate the need for additional troop and hospital ships accompanying the main fleet all the while allowing for rather comfortable living spaces concerning the ships basic crew, her air wing detachment and marines force. During World War 1, World War 2 and the Korea War, American assault missions required various (and numerous) types of surface ships to include battleships, aircraft carriers, troop ships and landing craft. Support ships needed to be close to volatile and dangerous shorelines in order to land their assault troops and were thusly put within range of enemy artillery and air attack. The LHD ships now allows the US Navy and Marine Corps the ability to enact over-the-horizon assaults that reduce the chance of attack on the Navy's greatest assets - its ships and crews. This concept further allows the Wasp the chance of an uncontested beach landing.
The Wasp class required, and was fitted with, sophisticated communications systems and advanced command-and-control for complex missions management concerning simultaneous air and sea deployments. She was also given capable self-defense weaponry as well as state-of-the-art electronics which, when Combined, serve to support the US Navy and Marine helicopters, landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles needed to land Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) elements. The marine detachment alone can number up to 2,200 combat-ready, gear-laden marines. The US Navy also required their new LHD vessels to field improvements found lacking in the preceding Tarawa-class LHA-type ships. While the two classes utilized the same basic hull design and propulsion system, the Wasp has given a larger well deck that allowed her to carry 3 x LCACs versus 1 x LCAC in the preceding LHA series. The flight deck space and elevators were enlarged to allow the carrying of more helicopters per lift than the LHA class before it. Additional improvements over the LHA class included an LSD/LPD-type large powered stern loading gate and a longer, narrower docking well which could alternatively hold up to 12 x LCM 6, 6 x LCM 8 or 2 x LCUs units. The USS Wasp can transport up to 2,860 square meters (30,800 sq ft) of cargo and another 1,858 square meters (20,000 sq ft) is allocated for MEU vehicles. Based on mission requirements, the Wasp has vehicle space to accommodate up to 5 x USMC M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, 25 x AAVs, 8 x M198 towed howitzers, 68 x supply trucks plus twelve additional support-type vehicles. An internal monorail system is used to move cargo from the various holds to the well deck as needed.
The USS Wasp was formally put to see on August 4th, 1987 and officially commissioned for service on July 29th, 1989 and has been in active service since. She was given the fighting motto of "Honor, Tradition, Ecellence" with a yellow and blue patch signifying this creed. The patch also includes the silhouette of a wasp in reference to the ship's official title.
In February 2004, the USS Wasp was reassigned to waters off of Afghanistan, taking along the Marines of BLT 1/6 and HMM-266 Rein. After the marines were offloaded, she returned to the United States to pick up more Marines from HMH-461, taking them to Djibouti. After leaving Djibouti in August, Wasp returned to Kuwait to pick up the Marines of HMM-266 Rein returning to Norfolk, Virginia in September of 2004. In July of 2006, then-Vice President Dick Cheney arrived on the USS Wasp to give a speech honoring the efforts of the USS Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Wasp was the principal attraction at Fleet Week 2007 in New York City. In September of 2007, the USS Wasp was moved to Nicaragua in a humanitarian mission for the victims of Hurricane Felix.
The USS Wasp became the first ship to deploy the tilt-rotor Boeing V-22 "Osprey" transport helicopter in October 2007. These were carried to Iraqi waters in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On October 2009, the USS Wasp deployed from its base at Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia on a three-month sea voyage down the Atlantic to Caribbean waters as part of "Partnership of the Americas". Onboard USS Wasp, the 1,100 crew and 365 Marines were involved in exercises in the US 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Before her return to Norfolk in December 2009, she dropped off Marines at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba for a 90-day training program. On June 29th, 2010, USS Wasp was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy.
Prior to October 2011, Wasp was upgraded to receive the new Lockheed F-35B "Lightning II" for testing. The F-35B is the product of the Joint Strike Fighter program and a proposed Marine Corp variant featuring Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) qualities akin to the aging AV-8B Harrier II series. The F-35B is scheduled to replace the Marine Corps McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier and Grumman EA-6B Prowler series in their various ship-borne roles. The new aircraft will provide Wasp with a multi-role, fifth-generation fighter intended to reduce maintenance costs and ensure the Marine Corps tactical aircraft dominance required to protect the national interest. As of this writing (2011), the F-35B has surpassed 250 vertical landings including 72 vertical landings and short takeoffs from the deck of the USS Wasp alone. The next sea trial, DT-2, is scheduled for 2013 after Wasp receives additional modifications for F-35B operations.
The Navy received new orders for her forces in January 2012 concerning upcoming budget cuts reducing the number of ships in active inventory. This has forced a refocus of naval assets from the Atlantic to the Pacific theater in response. The major concern of the moment is China's decision to increase her naval presence in the South China Sea. China is locked in long-running territorial disputes with several neighboring nations including US-allied Japan, Philippines and Vietnam - all whom have repeatedly accused China of overt aggression in the region. They are among the several nations claiming sovereignty over islands in the sea in the hope that there will be oil and gas deposits there. US President Barack Obama has since ordered a boost to the US presence in the region and will base a full Marine task force in northern Australia as a result. USS Wasp may soon be reassigned to a new home port on the pacific coast of the US in response to the changing scenario.
Currently, the USS Wasp is equipped with 2 x Sea Sparrow missile launchers, 2 x RAM launchers, 2 x Phalanx CIWS, 3 x 25mm Mk 38 series guns and several 12.7mm heavy machine guns. Her currently supported aircraft wing includes up to 12 x CH-46 Sea Knight transport helicopters, 4 x CH-53E Super Stallion transport helicopters, 6 x AV08B Harrier II strike aircraft, 3 x UH-1N Huey transport helicopters, 4 x AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and several MV-22 Osprey transport tilt-rotor aircraft.
- Wasp participates in the US occupation of Iceland in order to fill in for British troops needed in mainland Europe. After brief journeys back to the US, she was dispatched to Iceland a second time.
- Wasp provides support to British forces on the island of Malta, a strategic point in the center of the Mediterranean. Wasp enters the Mediterranean Sea and discharges several Spitfire planes toward Malta. All of the planes are shot down by German air raids.
- A second run to Malta is made with a British ship in company. Both ships discharge Spitfires, which, despite some mishaps, were able to complete the operation successfully.
- Wasp is dispatched to the Pacific after carriers there are lost and her presence is needed to replace them.
- As part of a secret, urgent mission, Wasp steams to a launch position 84 miles from Tulagi, in the Solomon Islands. Fifteen Japanese boats and seven fighters were taken in this highly successful operation over the islands. None of Wasp’s planes were lost. After nearly a month of operations near Guadalcanal, fuel was running low, and the order to withdraw was given.
- On Sept. 15, 1942, Wasp is launching planes from her decks 150 miles from San Cristobal Island when three Japanese torpedoes hit her starboard side. Explosions and fire caused extensive damage, and the captain gave the order to abandon ship.
The ship sank several hours later. She was awarded two battle stars for her service.
USS Wasp6 - History
The Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) is an Amphibious Assault Ship, and the third U.S. Navy ship of that name. It was named in honor of John Paul Jones' famous frigate, which he had named the French language equivalent of "Good man Richard," in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the U.S. Ambassador to France at the time. The name Bonhomme Richard is derived from the pen name of Benjamin Franklin, the author of Poor Richard's Almanac.
The contract to build her was awarded to Ingalls Shipbuilding on December 11, 1992, and her keel was laid down on April 18, 1995.
May 17, 1997 PCU Bonhomme Richard was christened during a ceremony at Pascagoula, Miss. Mrs. Joyce Murtha, wife of The Honorable Mr. John P. Murtha, Representative to Congress from the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, served as the ship's sponsor. Capt. Douglas W. Keith is the prospective commanding officer.
The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Bonhomme Richard conducted builder's sea trials from Jan. 27-30, 1998, and acceptance trials from March 16-18.
In March, the Bonhomme Richard's tanks 7 and 8 ruptured when Ingalls floating dry-dock broke loose in 42-knot winds. Damage was $200,000.
August 15, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) was commissioned without a ceremony at NAS Pensacola, Fla.
August 31, The amphibious assault ship arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a three-day visit Inport Valparaiso, Chile, from Sept. 12-16.
September 28, USS Bonhomme Richard arrived in its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, Calif., after a six-week transit around South America.
October 18, The BHR returned to homeport after a five-day underway off the coast of southern California, conducting AV-8 Harrier operations.
The Bonhomme Richard conducted Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) Nov. 9-13 and from Nov. 16-20, along with TSTA I Underway again from Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 for a Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) I and TSTA II from Dec. 15-18.
February 8, 1999 The first operational Wasp-class Wireless Local Area Network (LAN) was installed aboard the BHR. In February the ship completed TSTA III and Final Evaluation Period (FEP).
In March, the Bonhomme Richard participated in first phase of the largest amphibious exercise held on the West Coast, Kernel Blitz '99. The ship embarked the squadron of four MH-53 aircraft for the first ever LHD AMCM operation. In Fall the LHD 6 participated in two last training before deployment, COMPTUEX 99-2YK and FLEETEX 00-1.
December 9, An CH-46D "Sea Knight" assigned to HMM-166, that lifted off from the Bonhomme Richard as the lead of five helicopters, crashed while attempting to land on the USNS Pecos (T-AO 197) during a training exercise. The chopper's landing gear apparently snagged a metal safety net and the helicopter flipped over into the water and quickly sank. Eleven Marines were rescued by special warfare crewmen on two nearby boats. But six Marines and a Sailor drowned, their bodies recovered later from the sunken wreckage by an unmanned submersible vehicle.
January 24, 2000 USS Bonhomme Richard departed Naval Base San Diego for its maiden deployment, with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
January 31, LHD 6 pulled into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for a four-day port call.
February 21, The BHR anchored off the coast of Dili to support peacekeeping and humanitarian operations of the international forces in East Timor in Operation Stabilise.
February 26, USS Bonhomme Richard arrived in Darwin, Australia, for a two-day port visit. The ship departed Singapore on March 9 after a four-day visit.
March 12, The Bonhomme Richard anchored off the coast of Phuket for a three-day visit to Thailand. Entered the 5th Fleet on March 22.
April 1, LHD 6 anchored off the coast of Kuwait for a three-week bi-lateral exercise Eager Mace.
April 24, Capt. Robert J. Connelly relieved Capt. Douglas W. Keith as CO of the USS Bonhomme Richard.
April 26, The amphibious assault ship anchored off the coast of Bahrain for a brief visit to Manama. Participated in exercise Eastern Maverick, off the coast of Qatar, from April 30- May 19.
May 21, USS Bomhomme Richard pulled into Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, for a three-day visit to Dubai Participated in exercise Sea Soldier, off the coast of Oman, from May 28- June 4.
June 25, The BHR anchored in Hong Kong Harbor for a four-day port call Anchored off Phuket, Thailand, from June 14-18.
July 14, The amphibious assault ship arrived again in Pearl Harbor for a two-day visit to embark family members for a Tiger Cruise.
July 24, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to San Diego after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AoR).
November 15, The Bonhomme Richard departed homeport for sea trials after a two-month maintenance availability Underway again on Dec. 4 for CART II.
March 2, 2001 USS Bonhomme Richard anchored off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, for a three-day visit to Mexico. The ship participated in annual exercise Kernel Blitz, off the coast of southern California, from March 26- April 6.
April 27, LHD 6 arrived in San Francisco, Calif., for a three-day port call after participating in TSTA I. Underway for Phase II of Kernel Blitz from June 18-28.
September 20, Capt. Stanley V. De Geus relieved Capt. Robert J. Connelly as commanding officer of the USS Bonhomme Richard.
In October the 13th MEU embarked its combat power aboard the amphibious ships of the USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group to solidify the Navy-Marine Corps team and its title as the nation's force in readiness. The MEU and Amphibious Squadron Three's (PHIBRON 3) first at-sea period, Compatibility Training Underway Exercise, was conducted Oct. 2-17, off the southern California coast. COMPTUEX was the first time Marines and Sailors of the USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group planned and executed ship-to-shore missions. The MEU/ARG team exercised its ability to conduct special missions from ships off the coast of southern California to land-based objectives on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and San Clemente Island. San Francisco Fleet Week was cancelled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., so the 13th MEU stacked its schedule with three more special missions, totaling 15 in a 16-day at-sea period.
December 1, USS Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
December 29, LHD 6 pulled into Changi Naval Base for a nine-day visit to Singapore.
January 18, 2002 Aircraft from Bonhomme Richard launched its first combat sortie in support of OEF in Afghanistan.
On February 12, the BHR conducted Operation Hand Clasp off the coast of Lamu, Kenya.
March 7, The amphibious assault ship is currently conducting missions in support of Operation Anaconda off the Pakistan coast in North Arabian Sea.
April 5, USS Bonhomme Richard pulled into Manama, Bahrain, for a three-day port call.
May 7, The Bonhomme Richard anchored off Phuket, Thailand, for a four-day port visit Inport Townsville, Australia, from May 23-27 Inport Pearl Harbor from June 7-9.
June 18, USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) returned to San Diego after six-and-a-half month combat deployment.
July 29, LHD 6 departed homeport for ten days to conduct ammunition offload and routine training, off the coast of Camp Pendelton.
August 10, The BHR is currently conducting deck-landing qualification off the coast of southern California.
November 25, USS Bonhomme Richard departed for sea trials after a two-month Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA).
December 6, The amphibious assault ship departed San Diego for accelerated Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) I/II/III and CART II.
January 17, 2003 USS Bonhomme Richard deployed with Amphibious Task Force - West (ATF-W), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Global War on Terrorism.
February 18, Capt. Jon F. Berg-Johnsen relieved Capt. Stanley V. De Geus as the 4th commanding officer of LHD 6.
July 26, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to Naval Station San Diego after supporting U.S. and coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The amphibious assault ship played two significant roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom. First, it offloaded more than 1,000 Marines and gear from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines into Kuwait. Then, it took up position just miles off the coast of Kuwait and became one of two Harrier Carriers in the Arabian Gulf launching AV-8B Harrier strike aircraft into Iraq. Pilots from Marine Attack Squadrons 211 and 311, embarked aboard BHR, expended more than 175,000 pounds of ordnance, providing close air support to the Marines on the ground and during predetermined strikes in Iraq. During OIF LHD 6 launched more than 800 sorties, including 547 combat launches.
August 5, 2004 Capt. Jeffery S. Jones relieved Capt. Jon F. Berg-Johnsen as CO of the Bonhomme Richard.
October 23, Expeditionary Strike Group Five completed a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of southern California in October. During the 16-day exercise, diverse elements of the strike group came together to rehearse every imaginable situation they could encounter during real-world operations in support of the global war on terrorism. ESG-5 is the first Expeditionary Strike Group to operate with a Coast Guard cutter, USCGC (WHEC 724) Munro, bringing together all elements of our nation’s sea services - Navy, Marine and Coast Guard - into a single fighting unit.
November 5, USS Bonhomme Richard ESG 5, led by Rear Adm. Christopher C. Ames, is currently participating in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) off the coast of southern California, which runs through Nov. 15. Participating in JTFEX are USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Duluth (LPD 6), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Thach (FFG 43), USS Pasadena (SSN 752), USS Helena (SSN 725) and USCGC Munro (WHEC 724). The strike group is training with the Canadian ships HMCS Algonquin (DDG 283), HMCS Winnipeg (FFG 338), HMCS Regina (FFH 334), and HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509).
December 6, USS Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego for a scheduled western Pacific deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
December 13, LHD 6 pulled into Naval Station Pearl Harbor for a four-day port visit.
January 4, 2005 The Bonhomme Richard cut short its port visit to Guam on Dec. 28 and set sail for South Asia to provide humanitarian assistance to the disaster stricken region. The amphibious assault ship will join several other Navy ships in the area or en route after an earthquake followed by a massive tsunami paralyzed the region Dec. 26. In preparation for the upcoming mission, Bonhomme Richard’s crew loaded more than 300 palettes of supplies during the ship’s eight-hour port stop in Guam. The ship also conducted flight operations in port to deliver supplies to USS Duluth, anchored in the harbor. Helicopters attached to BHR airlifted more than 200,000 pounds of disaster relief supplies on Jan. 4 from two warehouses on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
January 23, USS Bonhomme Richard concluded operations in the area, turned over with USS Essex (LHD 2) and steamed toward the U.S. Central Command area of operations Jan. 18. During their nine days of humanitarian assistance operations in support of Operation Unified Assistance, LHD 6 and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit delivered more than a million pounds of humanitarian aid to tsunami survivors on the Indonesian island of Sumatra Arrived on station in the Arabian Gulf on Jan. 26.
January 29, Lt. Cmdr. Edward E. Jack, assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, died of a non-combat related incident aboard the BHR.
From February 14-16, USS Bonhomme Richard conducted offload of Marines and equipment, while anchored off Kuwait Naval Base, for training exercises.
March 12, The Bonhomme Richard departed Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, after a five-day liberty visit to Dubai.
April 1, The "Gunbearers" of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11, Det. 4, embarked aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, were re-designated as the "Blackjacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, Det. 4. Since the "Blackjacks" deployed with the "Revolutionary Gator," they have been flying the MH-60S and soon will be phasing in the MH-60R. The new birds have newly designed systems that will enhance search and rescue and counter-mine identification missions. With the added components, the helicopters will be more versatile for a number of different missions.
April 19, The amphibious asault ship departed Arabian Gulf after bringing the 15th MEU back aboard from combat operations in Iraq. The BHR was on station in the Gulf for almost three months, serving as a sea base for the 15th MEU and command ship for Commander, Task Force (CTF) 58, protecting vital Iraqi oil terminals and conducting maritime security operations (MSO).
May 10, The BHR arrived in Brisbane, Australia, for a five-day port visit Inport Naval Station Pearl Harbor from May 26-30.
June 6, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to Naval Base San Diego after a 182-day deployment.
July 20, The Bonhomme Richard is currently underway off the coast of southern California for ammo offload with the USS Peleliu (LHA 5).
August 3, LHD 6 arrived in Seattle, Wash., in a parade of ships to participate in the 55th Annual Seattle Seafair Festival. More than 1000 guests were invited aboard USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Ogden, USS Crommelin and USCGC Active (WMEH 618) to experience the Navy and Coast Guard firsthand as the ships pulled into Seattle.
August 31, Capt. Stephen Green relieved Capt. Jeffery S. Jones as the 6th CO of Bonhomme Richard.
October 1, USS Bonhomme Richard entered the floating dry-dock at General Dynamic's National Steel and Shipbuilding Company for an extended maintenance period, scheduled to last through the beginning of next year.
January 5, 2006 THe BHR completed its three-month dry dock period. Work will continue for several more weeks while the ship is pierside at the 32nd Street Naval Station. At the completion of the maintenance period, the ship will conduct sea trials and begin training for its next deployment.
March 13, During the Bonhomme Richard&rsquos $30 million Drydocking Planned Maintenance Availability (DPMA) that ended on Feb. 22, the warship upgraded its Collective Protection System (CPS) and added four more chemical, biological and radioactive protected zones. CPS zones provide protection against a chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) attack by way of filtration and pressure, controlling access to a certain spaces and creating safe havens. The newly protected areas include high priority spaces, such as medical, command and control spaces and living spaces. In the case of a CBR attack, personnel inside the "safe havens" can carry on their normal duties without wearing individual protective equipment, while areas outside the safe havens may be exposed to contamination.
March 23, AV-8B Harriers, assigned to the "Tomcats" of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 311, returned to the BHR for the first time in nearly nine months, while the ship was underway for routine training off the coast of southern California.
From April 11-13, the Bonhomme Richard and helicopters, assigned to the "Blackjacks" of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, conducted an ammunition transfer with the USS Tarawa (LHA 1) in preparation for the upcoming deployment later this year. More than 2 million pounds of ammo were received from the Tarawa and Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, Calif.
April 26, USS Bonhomme Richard was certified for well deck operations, following two days of ship-to-shore maneuvers in the SOCAL Op. Area.
June 16, The Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego to participate in Trident Warrior and Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises.
June 24, The amphibious assault ship pulled into Pearl Harbor for an extended port visit Underway for at-sea phase of RIMPAC 2006 on July 5.
July 27, LHD 6 moored again at Naval Station Pearl Harbor for a five-day port visit and to embark 139 "Tigers."
August 7, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to homeport after a nearly two-month underway period.
September 6, USS Bonhomme Richard served as a test platform for the UH-1Y "Super Huey" and AH-1Z "Super Cobra" helicopters while conducting operations in the Pacific Ocean, from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. The UH-1Y is scheduled for operation late in fiscal year 2008, while the AH-1Z will become operational in 2011. The UH-1Y will replace the UH-1N, the 34-year-old workhorse of the U.S. military.
September 11, The BHR arrived in Victoria, B.C., for a two-day port call after four days of operational testing of a new torpedo countermeasures system on the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range in Nanoose Bay.
September 20, The amphibious assault ship returned to San Diego after completing a three-week underway period Underway for routine training from Nov. 28-30.
January 22, 2007 USS Bonhomme Richard is currently operating off the coast of southern California, conducting Expeditionary Strike Group Integrated Training (ESGINT) Exercice, in preparation for the upcoming deployment.
January 26, Four Sailors died when an MH-60S Knighthawk, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, crashed into the Pacific Ocean while conducting a routine training mission off BHR near San Clemente Island.
February 8, The Bonhomme Richard returned to homeport after a one-night underway for routine training.
February 17, The BHR is currently underway for a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in preparation for an upcoming deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Underway for a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) from March 14-24.
April 10, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism and Maritime Security Operations (MSO).
April 28, The amphibious assault ship pulled into Apra Harbor, Guam, for a routine port visit.
May 12, The BHR ESG departed Changi Naval Base, Singaporem after a three-day port call.
May 23, USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, along with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) CSG-s, entered the Arabian Gulf to conduct missions in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and perform Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) training.
From May 25-28, the Bonhomme Richard offloaded the the Marines and equipment at Camp Patriot, Kuwait.
June 7, USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Denver (LPD 9) departed Manama, Bahrain, with humanitarian assistance supplies, equipment and additional personnel to provide assistance to mariners in the aftermath of Cyclone Gonu, which plowed through the North Arabian Sea this week. Additionally, coalition ships from Germany, Japan, Pakistan and United Kingdom are standing by.
June 14, Capt. Neil R. Parrott relieved Capt. Stephen Greene as commanding officer of the Bonhomme Richard in a ceremony held abord the ship in Manama, Bahrain.
September 28, The 13th MEU completed its return to the BHR ESG, after conducting combat operations in Iraq for nearly four months.
October 7, After nearly four months of operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group entered the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AoR).
October 21, The Bonhomme Richard departed Fremantle, Australia, after a five-day liberty visit to Perth.
November 9, LHD 6 pulled into Naval Station Pearl Harbor for a brief port call.
November 19, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to homeport after more than a seven-month deployment in the western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.
January 18, 2008 The Bonhomme Richard returned to San Diego after conducting a post-deployment ammunition offload off the coast of southern California from Jan. 14-17.
June 27, LHD 6 arrived in Pearl Harbor to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2008 exercise, scheduled to take place in the Hawaiian Op. Area from June 29 through July 31.
September 14, The BHR is currently off the coast of southern California conducting deck landing qualifications (DLQ) with the VMA-211 and VMA-214. This is the first time that "Harriers" have returned to the flight deck of USS Bonhomme Richard since last year deployment.
October 6, The amphibious assault ship is currently underway for deck landing qualifications in the SOCAL Op. Area.
October 12, USS Bonhomme Richard arrived in San Francisco for the city's annual Fleet Week celebration.
November 3, LHD 6 departed Naval Base San Diego for deck landing qualifications off the coast of southern California.
January 13, 2009 Capt. John W. Funk relieved Capt. Neil R. Parrott as CO of the BHR during a change-of-command ceremony in San Diego.
From March 2-5, the Bonhomme Richard took on more than 1,000 pallets of ordnance, in preparation for a western Pacific deployment later this year.
June 30, The BHR Amphibious Ready Group is currently conducting initial integration exercise, with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), off the coast of southern California.
July 20, The amphibious assault ship is currently underway for Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) Underway for a Certification Exercise (CERTEX) on Aug. 10.
September 24, USS Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment after a six-day delay because unspecified issues were found during an inspection of the ship's gas-turbine generators.
October 14, LHD 6 arrived in Savu Sea to conduct a multi-lateral exercise MAREX 2009 in cooperation with the government of Timor-Leste.
October 29, The Bonhomme Richard anchored off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, for a liberty port visit.
November 15, USS Bonhomme Richard ARG recently entered the U.S. 5th Fleet AoR, relieving the Bataan (LHD 5) ARG.
December 28, Capt. Timothy M. Wilson relieved Capt. Rodney A. Clark as Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7 during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the BHR.
March 9, 2010 USS Bonhomme Richard arrived in Port Klang, Malaysia, for a scheduled port visit to Kuala Lumpur.
April 5, LHD 6 pulled into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a routine port visit and to pick up "Tigers."
April 14, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to Naval Base San Diego after a nearly seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AoR).
May 25, The amphibious assault ship is currently underway for Navy/Marine Corps training exercise Dawn Blitz 2010 off the coast of southern California.
June 14, USS Bonhomme Richard ARG departed San Diego to take part in Trident Warrior 2010 and Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises.
June 24, The BHR pulled into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the in-port phase of RIMPAC 2010 Underway for at-sea phase on July 6.
July 10, Capt. Jonathan L. Harnden relieved Capt. John W. Funk as commanding officer of the Bonhomme Richard.
August 2, The amphibious assault ship departed Hawaii after completing its participation in Rim of the Pacific 2010 Returned to San Diego on Aug. 9.
August 12, The Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7 was disestablished, after 24 years of naval service, during a ceremony aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.
September 14, The Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego for a Friends and Family Day Cruise.
September 26, LHD 6 offloaded more than 800 pallets of ammunition to Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, while underway from Sept. 20-23.
December 1, USS Bonhomme Richard entered the dry-dock at General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard for a four-month, $74 million worth, Drydocking Phased Maintenance Availability (DPMA). During that time the ship will go through everything from hull and hanger bay preservation, to the improvement of communications systems to the addition of equipment needed for the BHR to handle the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft.
April 13, 2011 The amphibious assault ship departed dry-dock and returned to Naval Base San Diego where will undergo more work as part of a roughly $100 million overhaul.
July 8, USS Bonhomme Richard departed homeport for sea trials off the coast of southern California.
July 14, Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber relieved Rear Adm. Earl L. Gay as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the BHR at sea.
July 25, The Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego for sea trials.
July 29, LHD 6 passed its latest round of operational tests, becoming certified in both amphibious and aircraft operations Moored at Naval Station Everett, Wash., from Aug. 1-2.
August 2, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Pier 25 in downtown Seattle for a six-day port visit to participate in annual Seafair celebration.
August 30 The BHR departed Naval Base San Diego to conduct ammunition onload.
September 28, USS Bonhomme Richard is currently participating in a Navy/Marine Corps amphibious landing exercise Dawn Blitz 2011, off the coast of Camp Pendleton, from Sept. 28- Oct. 3.
October 5, The Bonhomme Richard pulled into San Francisco, Calif., to participate in Fleet Week 2011.
November 10, LHD 6 returned to homeport after a routine training off the coast of southern California.
January 12, 2012 The amphibious assault ship departed San Diego for a Friends and Family Day Cruise.
February 3, Capt. Charles E. Litchfield relieved Capt. Jonathan L. Harnden as CO of the BHR during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship at San Diego.
February 14, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Naval Base San Diego for a two-month western Pacific deployment and a homeport change to Sasebo, Japan, to replace the forward deployed USS Essex (LHD 2).
February 21, The Bonhomme Richard pulled into Pearl Harbor for an overnight stop to deliver seven CH-53E Super Stallions to the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 463 at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. The helicopters are replacing the CH-53D, which was retired Feb. 11 after more than 40 years of service and to offload the Navy A-3 aircraft for delivery to the Pacific Aviation Museum. The plane was originally attached to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., with Heavy Attack Squadron (VAH-123). From there it was used by Hughes Aircraft Company conducting flight tests.
March 3, LHD 6 pulled into Apra Harbor, Guam, for a brief port call.
March 8, USS Bonhoome Richard pulled into White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, for a four-day port call.
April 2, The BHR recently anchored in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, after participating in a joint exercise Foal Eagle 2012, off South Korea, along with USS Essex ARG.
April 9, USS Bonhomme Richard arrived at its new homeport of Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.
April 23, Capt. David Fluker took the command of the Bonhomme Richard during an exchange of command and crew ("hull swap") ceremony with the USS Essex at Sasebo Naval Base.
June 28, Capt. Daniel P. Dusek relieved Capt. David Fluker as CO of the Bonhomme Richard during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship in Sasebo.
August 10, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo, Japan, for a western Pacific patrol Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from Aug. 16-17.
August 20, The BHR moored at White Beach Naval Facility for a two-day port call to embark Marines and equipment before conducting Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX).
August 25, LHD 6 moored at Berth 12 in Fleet Activities Yokosuka for safe haven from Typhoon Bolaven Underway on Aug. 26 Another visit to Okinawa from Aug. 30-31.
September 26, USS Bonhomme Richard pulled into Apra Harbor, Guam, for a routine port call after completed a two-week CERTEX on Sept. 24.
October 5, The Bonhomme Richard ARG pulled into Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, for a three-day port call before participating in a bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2013, near Palawan and Zambales provinces Inport Subic Bay again from Oct. 17-20.
October 22, The amphibious assault ship moored at Sepanggar Naval Base for a four-day port visit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
October 29, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored in Victoria Harbour for a four-day port visit to Hong Kong Inport White Beach, Okinawa, from Nov. 4-6.?
November 10, The BHR ARG is currently participating in Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 24G, the maritime component of the biennial exercise Keen Sword 2013, between the United States and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships.
November 18, LHD 6 recently arrived in Andaman Sea to provide support for U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia from Nov. 17-20.
December 3, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to homeport after a nearly four-month underway period.
January 24, 2013 The Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for an annual Spring Patrol.
January 26, LHD 6 moored at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, for a four-day port call.
February 10, USS Bonhomme Richard joined USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46) in the Gulf of Thailand to participate in annual multinational exercise Cobra Gold 2013, from Feb. 11-21.
March 1, The BHR is currently underway in the Gulf of Thailand for INSURV Preps. and will soon commence its Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of Okinawa. Inport White Beach Naval Facility from March 21-26 Underway for a Friends and Family Day Cruise on March 25 Anchored off Yokosuka on March 28.
March 30, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to Sasebo after a two-month underway period.
From April 26-27 and 29th, the Bonhomme Richard was underway for local operations Underway for INSURV rehearsal on May 10 Underway for a Board of Inspection and Survey assessment on May 13.
June 13, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for a Summer Patrol Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from June 13-14.
June 14, LHD 6 embarked four MV-22 Osprey aircraft, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265, for their maiden Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) deployment.
June 24, The BHR moored at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa for a two-day port call to embark combat elements from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
July 9, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Fisherman Islands Coal Terminal in Port of Brisbane, Australia, for a four-day visit before participating in a bilateral exercise Talisman Sabre 2013, off the coast of Queensland, from July 15- Aug. 5 The ARG commenced Certification Exercise (CERTEX) on Aug. 7.
August 16, The amphibious assault ship moored at Garden Island Naval Base in Sydney, Australia, for a four-day port visit.
August 28, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin, Australia, for a three-day port visit. The elements of 31st MEU will participate in exercise Koolendong 2013, at the Bradshaw Field Training Area south-west of Darwin, from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7 Inport Darwin again for backload from Sept. 8-10.
September 18, The Bonhomme Richard moored at Ocean Terminal in Hong Kong for a three-day port visit Inport Okinawa, Japan, for offload from Sept. 25-28.
September 30, USS Bonhomme Richard returned to Sasebo after a three-and-a-half month underway period in the U.S. 7th Fleet AoR.
October 2, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 relieved of command Capt. Daniel P. Dusek due to a "loss of confidence in his ability to command." The XO Capt. Murray J. Tynch, III assumed command of the LHD 6.
October 7, USS Bonhomme Richard emergency sortied from Fleet Activities Sasebo to avoid the Typhoon Danas Returned home on Oct. 10.
November 14, Capt. Heidi C. Agle relieved Capt. Cathal S. O'Connor as Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 11 during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the BHR.
January 21, 2014 USS Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo for sea trials after a three-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from Jan. 22-23 Returned home on Jan. 24.
February 17, USS Bonhomme Richard departed homeport for a routine Spring Patrol.
February 22, The BHR moored at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, for a four-day port call to conduct onload before participating in Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX) Inport White Beach again from March 24-25.
March 27, USS Bonhomme Richard ARG randezvous with the USS Lake Erie (CG 70), USS Howard (DDG 83), ROKS Dokdo (LPH 6111), ROKS Wang Geon (DDG 978), ROKS Bi Ro Bong (LST 682), ROKS Hyang Ro (LST 683) and ROKS Gwangmyeong (PCC 782), in the waters south of Jeju Island, for participation in annual combined exercise Ssang Yong, off the coast of Pohang, Republic of Korea Anchored off Pohang from March 29- April 2 and April 5-7.
April 11, The Bonhomme Richard is currently conducting training with the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), 2nd Infantry Division, while underway in the East China Sea. The Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) arrived in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula on April 15.
April 16, LHD 6 arrived in the vicinity off a capsized South Korean ferry Sewol, near the island of Jindo, to provide assistance if needed. The 6,852-tonne vessel, carrying 476 people, including 325 high school students, had been en route from the western port of Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju, when it reportedly hit rocks before 9 a.m. and began listing severely Completed SAR mission on April 22 Inport White Beach, Okinawa, for offload from April 24-26.
April 28, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored at A-39 in Sasebo Harbor for ammo offload after completing a 10-week patrol Moored at Berth 1, Juliet Basin Wharf on May 1.
August 21, The Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for a two-day underway to conduct sea trials after a three-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA). An "accidental gouging" of the flight deck, discovered on Aug. 8, led to a visual inspection, during which time officials from Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center Detachment Sasebo saw the non-skid surface was flaking. Further testing confirmed the nonskid material had not set properly, making the surface unsafe for flight operations.
January 10, 2015 USS Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo for sea trials and an annual Spring Patrol after a four-month Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV) Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for onload from Jan. 10-12 Brief stop at Sasebo on Jan. 14 Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from Jan. 21-23.
January 25, The BHR moored at Navy Pier in White Beach Naval Facility for a three-day port call to embark Marines and equipment from the 31st MEU Completed flight deck certification on Jan. 29 Transited the Luzon Strait westbound on Feb. 19.
February 23, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Sepanggar Naval Base, Malaysia, for a four-day port visit to Kota Kinabalu Transited the Luzon Strait eastbound on March 2 Moored at Navy Pier, Okinawa, for onload on March 4 Underway for Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) on March 7 Conducted Certification Exercise (CERTEX) from March 16-23.
March 26, An MV-22B Osprey, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 Rein., landed for the first time on board the Republic of Korea Navy amphibious assault ship, ROKS Dokdo (LPH 6111), while Bonhomme Richard was underway south of the Korean Peninsula. The BHR ARG commenced today a week-long amphibious landing exercise Ssang Yong 2015, as part of the annual joint exercise Foal Eagle Anchored off Pohang from March 28- April 2.
April 5, USS Bonhomme Richard moored again at Navy Pier, White Beach, for a two-day port call to conduct offload Anchored at Sasebo Harbor for ammo offload with the USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) on April 9.
April 10, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Juliet Basin Wharf after a three-month patrol in the U.S 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AoR).
April 24, Capt. Jeffrey A. Ward relieved Capt. Murray J. Tynch, III as the 12th CO of LHD 6 during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship.
May 15, Capt. Marvin E. Thompson relieved Capt. Heidi C. Agle as Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 11 during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the Bonhomme Richard.
June 1, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for an annual Summer Patrol Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for onload from June 1-2.
June 6, The Bonhomme Richard moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for a three-day port call to conduct onload.
June 20, The BHR Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 transited the Makassar Strait southbound Transited the Lombok Strait southbound on June 21.
June 25, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth E, Victoria Quay in Port of Fremantle, Australia, for a five-day liberty visit to Perth.
July 7, The BHR ESG commenced its participation in a biennial exercise Talisman Sabre 2015, while underway off the northern coast of Australia.
July 25, LHD 6 moored at Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin, Astralia, for a two-day port call to backload Marines and equipment.
July 31, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored off the coast of Tanjung Benoa, Indonesia, for a four-day liberty visit to Bali.
August 8, Two MV-22B Ospreys, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 Rein., landed at Saipan International Airport in support of recovery efforts after the island was hit by Typhoon Soudelor on Aug. 2-3.
August 28, The BHR moored at White Beach, Okinawa, for a two-day port call to disembark Marines and equipment from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
August 29, Rear Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., relieved Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald as Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. Seventh Fleet during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the LHD 6. The position also commands both Task Force (TF) 76 and Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7.
September 2, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored in Sasebo Harbor for offload Moored at Berth 3, Juliet Basin Wharf on Sept. 3.
From November 9-10, the Bonhomme Richard was underway for a Mid-Cycle Inspection (MCI) assessment with the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).
January 18, 2016 USS Bonhomme Richard departed homeport for an annual Spring Patrol following a two-month Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV) Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from Jan. 18-20.
January 31, LHD 6 anchored off White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, for a well deck certification Moored at Navy Pier for onload from Feb. 1-6.
February 28, The Bonhomme Richard moored again at Navy Pier, White Beach for a brief port call to conduct offload and to embark the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 staff members, following the completion of Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX).
March 3, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 1, Busan Naval Base for a four-day port visit to the Republic of Korea.
March 9, The BHR ESG-7 commenced a nine-day amphibious landing exercise Ssang Yong 2016, as part of the annual joint exercise Foal Eagle Anchored off the coast of Pohang, ROK, on March 10.
March 17, The Bonhomme Richard participated in a seabasing demonstration with the USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1), while underway off the coast of Pohang Anchored off Pohang for backload on March 18 Moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for offload from March 22-25 Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo offload from March 28-30.
March 30, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 1, Juliet Basin Wharf in Sasebo after completing a 10-week patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet AoR.
August 1, The amphibious assault ship moved from Berth 1 to Berth 3, Juliet Basin Wharf.
August 3, Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton relieved Rear Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, Task Force (TF) 76 and Amphibious Force 7th Fleet during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the Bonhomme Richard.
August 6, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for an annual Fall Patrol following a four-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from Aug. 8-9.
August 17, LHD 6 moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for a four-day port call to embark Marines and equipment.
September 11, The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 recently completed the Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX), while underway off the coast of Okinawa, Japan Participated in a biennial field training exercise Valiant Shield 2016, in the Guam Op. Area, from Sept. 15-23 Transited the San Bernardino Strait southbound on Sept. 27.
September 29, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored at Western Anchorage (WA) #2 in Victoria Harbour for a three-day liberty port visit to Hong Kong.
October 5, The Bonhomme Richard moored at Alava Pier in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, for a brief port call before participating in Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2017 Moored at Alava Pier again for backload from Oct. 11-12 Participated in a photo exercise (PHOTOEX), with the USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Spruance (DDG 111), on Oct. 13.
October 16, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 3/4, Changi Naval Base in Singapore for a four-day liberty port visit Transited the Taiwan Strait northbound on Oct. 26 Moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for offload from Oct. 28-31.
November 3, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 3, Juliet Basin Wharf in Sasebo after completing a three-month patrol.
January 9, 2017 Capt. George B. Doyon relieved Capt. Marvin E. Thompson as Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 11 during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the BHR.
January 30, The Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo for a two-week underway to conduct flight deck and well deck ceretifications, following a three-month Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV).
February 27, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for a routine Spring Patrol Anchored in Sasebo Harbor for ammo onload from Feb. 27-28.
March 4, The BHR moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for a four-day onload Completed the Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) on March 19 Conducted Certification Exercise (CERTEX) from March 21-28.
March 31, USS Bonhomme Richard, along with the USS Green Bay (LPD 20), transited the Korean Strait northbound Anchored off Pohang, ROK, in support of the Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) 2017 from April 1-2 Transited southbound on April 3 Moored at Navy Pier, White Beach for offload from April 6-8.
April 10, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 3, Juliet Basin Wharf in Sasebo following a six-week patrol.
April 20, Capt. Larry G. McCullen relieved Capt. Jeffrey A. Ward as the 13th CO of Bonhomme Richard during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship.
June 1, USS Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo for a routine western Pacific patrol.
June 5, The Bonhomme Richard moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for a three-day port call to embark Marines and equipment Transited the Jomard Strait southbound on June 22.
June 29, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at FBE Berth 1, Garden Island Naval Base in Sydney, Australia, for a four-day port visit before participating in a biennial exercise Talisman Sabre 2017.
July 22, The Bonhomme Richard ESG participated in a photo exercise (PHOTOEX), along with the USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Sterett (DDG 104), HMAS Canberra (L02), HMAS Choules (L100), HMAS Anzac (FFH 150), HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155), HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156), HMAS Darwin (FFG 04), HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05), HMAS Broome (ACPB 90), HMAS Bathurst (ACPB 85), HMAS Huon (M82), HMAS Gascoyne (M85), HMAS Melville (A246), HMAS Success (OR 304) and HMNZS Canterbury (L421).
From July 23-25, the Bonhomme Richard ESG conducted backload of vehicles and equipment, while anchored in Shoalwater Bay, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
July 29, LHD 6 moored at Wharf 1, Container Terminal in Port of Brisbane, Australia, for a four-day liberty visit.
August 6, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps suspended search and rescue operations, on Sunday early morning, for three Marines that were lost at sea on Saturday afternoon, off Shoalwater Bay, after an MV-22B Osprey crashed while attempting to land on the USS Green Bay.
August 18, USS Bonhomme Richard ESG completed the Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX), while underway off the coast of Queensland.
August 22, The BHR is currently working with the rescue and salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) and HMAS Melville, in the Shoalwater Bay, to retrieve information about the crashed Osprey, search for remains and assist in the future salvage operations. The remains of Capt. Benjamin R. Cross, Cpl. Nathaniel F. Ordway and Lance Cpl. Ruben P. Velasco have been recovered on Aug. 25.
August 28, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Station Pier Inner West in Melbourne, Australia, for a six-day port visit.
September 19, The amphibious assault ship moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for a three-day offload.
September 25, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 3, Juliet Basin Wharf in Sasebo after completing a four-month patrol.
January 23, 2018 USS Bonhomme Richard departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for an annual Spring Patrol.
January 23, The BHR conducted Type Commander (TYCOM) Material Readiness Inspection (TMI) Anchored at A-39 on Tuesday evening for onload Departed Sasebo Harbor on Wednesday afternoon.
January 31, LHD 6 moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, for a two-day port call to onload 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines Transited the Surigao Strait southbound on Feb. 5 Transited the Balabac Strait westbound on Feb. 6.
February 10, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored off Sattahip, Thailand, to offload vehicles in preparation for annual exercise Cobra Gold 2018 Moored at Berth 2, C0 Terminal in Port of Laem Chabang from Feb. 11-14 Anchored off Sattahip again from Feb. 14-18.
February 18, The Bonhomme Richard participated in a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) with the HTMS Angthong (LPD 791) and ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST 687) Inport Laem Chabang again from Feb. 23-26 Anchored off Sattahip for backload from Feb. 26-28.
March 4, USS Bonhomme Richard anchored off the coast of Manila, Republic of the Philippines, for a four-day port visit Moored at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility for offload from March 12-14 Moored at Navy Pier again from March 22-27 Transited the Korean Strait northbound on March 30.
March 31, The Bonhomme Richard arrived off the coast of Pohang, ROK, to participate in amphibious landing exercise Ssang Yong 2018, as part of the annual joint exercise Foal Eagle The amphibious landing was cancelled due to bad weather on April 5 Transited the Korean Strait southbound on April 7.
April 9, The amphibious assault ship moored again at Navy Pier, White Beach Naval Facility to offload ammunition and to participate in the 2018 White Beach Festival, as part of its final visit to Okinawa Held an "Open House" from April 14-15 Departed Okinawa on April 16.
April 17, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 3, Juliet Basin Wharf on Fleet Activities Sasebo following a three-month patrol.
April 18, The Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo for a homeport change to San Diego, California Transited the Osumi Strait eastbound on April 19 Moored at Wharf K10/K11 on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, from April 27- May 2.
May 8, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 6, Pier 2 in its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego after forward-deployed to Japan for six years.
July 3, The Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego to participate in the biennial multinational exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018.
July 7, Seven MV-22B Ospreys, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 363, fly off the LHD 6 and landed at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, as part of the squadron&rsquos scheduled relocation to their new command, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
July 8, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Wharf K10/K11 on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a three-day port visit before participating in at-sea phase of RIMPAC Moored at Pier M3/M4, for emergent repairs to its propulsion system, on July 14 Moved to Wharf K10/K11 on July 30 Departed Pearl Harbor on Aug. 8.
August 14, The Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 6, Pier 2 on Naval Base San Diego.
September 6, Cmdr. Richard E. LeBron relieved Capt. Larry G. McCullen as CO of the BHR during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship.
September 18, USS Bonhomme Richard departed homeport for routine operations in the SOCAL Op. Area Anchored off the coast of Camp Pendleton North, for ammo offload with the USS Boxer (LHD 4), from Sept. 24-27.
September 30, USS Bonhomme Richard moored at Pier 30/32 in San Francisco, Calif., for a nine-day port visit to participate in annual Fleet Week celebration Brief underway for Parade of Ships on Oct. 5.
October 11, The Bonhomme Richard moored at Berth 5, Pier 2 on Naval Base San Diego.
June 23, 2019 USS Bonhomme Richard moved "dead-stick," on late Sunday evening, from Naval Base San Diego to dry-dock at NASSCO shipyard.
November 21, Capt. Gregory S. Thoroman relieved Capt. Richard E. LeBron as the 15th CO of LHD 6 during a change-of-command ceremony on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
December 19, USS Bonhomme Richard undocked and moored at Berth 5, Pier 2 on Naval Base San Diego.
July 12, 2020 A fire broke out in the lower Marine vehicle stowage area of the Bonhomme Richard, at approximately 8.30 a.m. local time, while the ship was moored at Pier 2 on Naval Base San Diego. Seventeen Sailors, from 160 aboard, and four civilians suffered a non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital. The BHR was nearing the end of a $250 million worth Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA).
July 16, After more than four days of firefighting, all known fires have been extinguished aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 conducted more than 1,500 water bucket drops, cooling the super structure and flight deck, enabling Sailors and civilian fire crews to get inside of the ship and the Navy Region Southwest tugs also provided firefighting support from the waterline. Due to extra weight, the BHR listed by 5 degrees to its port side on Wednesday evening.
July 22, General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) was awarded a $10 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-18-C-4404) for the USS Bonhomme Richard's emergency firefighting support, dewatering, safety and initial clean-up efforts. Work is expected to be completed by November.
April 14, 2021 The Bonhomme Richard held a decommissioning ceremony at Pier 2 on Naval Base San Diego, after a nearly 23 years of active service.
April 15, USS Bonhomme Richard was officially decommissioned and stricken from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register.
April 15, LHD 6 departed San Diego on Thursday morning, under tow by Arctic-class tug Nicole Foss, en route to Brownsville, Texas, to be scrapped Transited the Panama Canal northbound from May 10-11.
To carry out her primary mission, Wasp has an assault support system that synchronizes the simultaneous horizontal and vertical flow of troops, cargo and vehicles throughout the ship. Two aircraft elevators service the hangar bay and flight deck. Six cargo elevators, each 4 by 8 meters (13 by 26 ft), are used to transport material and supplies from the 3,000-cubic-meter (110,000 cu ft) cargo holds throughout the ship to staging areas on the flight deck, hangar bay and vehicle storage area. Cargo is transferred to waiting landing craft docked within the ship's 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m 2 ), 81-meter long (266 ft) well deck. Helicopters in the hangar bay or on the flight deck are cargo-loaded by forklift.
Medical facilities Edit
Wasp has medical and dental facilities capable of providing intensive medical assistance to 600 casualties, whether combat incurred or brought aboard ship during humanitarian missions. The ship's corpsmen also provide routine medical/dental care to the crew and embarked personnel. Major medical facilities include four main and two emergency operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, x-ray rooms, a blood bank, laboratories, and patient wards. In addition, three battle dressing stations are located throughout the ship, as well as a casualty collecting area at the flight deck level. Medical elevators rapidly transfer casualties from the flight deck and hangar bay to the medical facilities.
For the comfort of the 1,075 crewmembers and 2,200 embarked troops, all manned spaces and berthing areas are individually heated and air conditioned. Berthing areas are subdivided to provide semi-private spaces without adversely affecting efficiency. Onboard recreational facilities include a Library Multi-Media Resource Center with Internet access, a weight room, and satellite television capabilities. [ citation needed ]
Wasp ' s two steam propulsion plants generate a total of 400 tons of steam per hour. The propulsion system develops 70,000 shaft horsepower (52 MW), powering the ship to speeds in excess of 22 knots (41 km/h 25 mph). USS Wasp was built using more than 21,000 tons of steel, 400 tons of aluminum, 400 miles (640 km) of electrical/electronic cables, 80 miles (130 km) of piping and tubing of various types and sizes, and 10 miles (16 km) of ventilation ducting. Wasp weighed more than 27,000 tons when moved onto the Ingalls floating dry-dock on 30 July 1987 for launch on 4 August 1987, becoming the largest man-made object rolled across land. In 1996, the ship was fitted with the Advanced Combat Direction System (ACDS). [ citation needed ]
On 20 June 1991, Wasp departed homeport for her maiden six-month Mediterranean deployment. In February 1993, she left her port on an emergency deployment to Somalia to participate in the United Nations intervention: Operation Restore Hope. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell landed on the ship that April for a discussion of military tactics taking place in and around Mogadishu. Following that, she assisted with another operation off the coast of Kuwait. She later made stops in Toulon, France and Rota, Spain, en route to her home port in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1998, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.
With the exception of deployments noted below, from 2004 to 2012, Wasp was not deployed as often or as long as other LHDs, as she was assigned to Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Lightning II testing and kept close to the U.S. as much as possible.  
Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom
In February 2004, Wasp set sail to take the Marines of 1/6 Marine Regiment and HMM-266 Rein to Afghanistan. They arrived at the end of March to offload the Marines, then returned to the U.S. to pick up more Marines from HMH-461 and transported them to Djibouti. After offloading HMH-461 in Djibouti, they picked up the Marines of HMM-266 Rein from Kuwait in August 2004, and returned to Norfolk, Virginia mid-September 2004. On 7 July 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Wasp. He gave a speech honoring the efforts of the USS Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Wasp was the first ship to deploy the V-22 Osprey, doing so in October 2007, by carrying VMM-263's ten MV-22B Ospreys to Iraq to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wasp also served as the platform for the program's first Sea Trials in December 1990, involving the third and fourth Osprey prototypes.  Wasp was the principal attraction at Fleet Week 2007 in New York City.
On 4 October 2009, Wasp deployed from her base at Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia on a three-month voyage down the Atlantic coast to the Caribbean, with Destroyer Squadron 40 and an embarked Marine Air-Ground Task Force.  The 1,100 sailors and 365 embarked Marines conducted operations and exercises in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. The operation, called Southern Partnership Station, is part of a maritime strategy, which focuses on building interoperability and cooperation in the region while meeting common challenges. [ citation needed ] In mid-October 2009, Wasp set anchor at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and disembarked Marines who were assigned to training status for approximately three months while Wasp went underway.
In September 2007, Wasp sailed to Nicaragua to offer assistance to the victims of Hurricane Felix. On 29 June 2010, Wasp was one of the 18 international vessels taking part in the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Canadian Navy in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Canadian and international warships were reviewed by Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  In 2011, Wasp was modified for F-35B testing, including replacing a Sea Sparrow launcher with monitoring equipment.  She returned to sea on 7 July 2011.  On 3 October 2011, the F-35B made its first vertical landing at sea on Wasp. On 5 October 2011, Wasp successfully launched her first F-35B. 
On 30 January 2012, Wasp set sail for Operation Bold Alligator, the largest amphibious exercise conducted by U.S. forces in the last decade. The exercise took place from 30 January to 12 February, both afloat and ashore in and around Virginia and North Carolina. In May 2012, Wasp participated in New York's Fleet Week, docking at Pier 92 on the Hudson River and offering tours of the ship to the general public.  In July 2012, Wasp visited Boston for Fleet Week 2012 and Fourth of July festivities. On 30 October 2012, Wasp was sent towards the Hurricane Sandy impact area in case the USN was needed to support the disaster relief efforts.  In June 2016, Wasp deployed for a six-month tour to the Middle East  In October 2016, the US Navy announced that Wasp will deploy to Sasebo, Japan in late 2017, replacing her sister ship Bonhomme Richard, which will be moved to San Diego, California.  On 1 August 2016, Marine AV-8B Harriers from Wasp began strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Libya as part of manned and unmanned airstrikes on targets near Sirte, launching at least five times within two days. 
The USN planned to deploy Wasp to the Asia-Pacific region in 2017 with a squadron of 16 F-35Bs.  In September 2017, Wasp became the first U.S. warship to arrive in the Caribbean to provide supplies, damage assessment, and evacuation assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irma.  On 3 March 2018, Wasp departed Sasebo, Japan for a routine patrol of the Indo-Pacific region. A detachment of 6 F-35Bs from VMFA-121 were deployed with the ship, marking the first operational shipboard deployment for the F-35B. 
On 27 May 2019, President Donald J. Trump landed in a helicopter aboard the Wasp anchored near Yokosuka, Japan to deliver Memorial Day remarks to the troops during his visit to Japan for a state dinner with Emperor of Japan, Emperor Naruhito and Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. 
Dark blue and gold are the traditional colors of the US Navy. Blue alludes to the sea, the theater of Naval Operations. Gold is for excellence. The chevron, a traditional symbol for support, represents the amphibious assault mission of the ship. It resembles a wave move to shore and refers to the deployment of men, women and cargo. The wings highlight USS Wasp ' s aviation heritage and capabilities. The modern ship with crossed officers sword and enlisted cutlass adapted from the surface warfare emblems represents leadership, teamwork and the ship's mission in surface operations. The pile of a sharp pointed "V" shape is expressive of assault, combat readiness and victory. The wasp, with its well-developed wings and ability to administer painful stings, epitomizes quick striking power. The stars recall two of the previous ships named Wasp, CV-7 and CV-18, aircraft carriers that earned two and eight battle stars respectively for World War II service. The red disc or sun refers to World War II Japan and the Pacific Theater where these aircraft carriers saw heavy combat action. The tridents are symbolic of sea power and weaponry.
Seeking records of USS Wasp (CV-7) and VT-7
I am looking for USS Wasp (CV-7) deck logs, after action reports and muster rolls, especially for VT-7, and other squadrons on Sept 15, 1942. My father, Myles McCarthy, was a survivor, and a rear gunner of a TBF Avenger. I am looking for the muster rolls of the survivors when the USS Wasp was sunk.
Re: Seeking records of USS Wasp (CV-7) and VT-7Jason Atkinson 11.12.2020 9:41 (в ответ на Myles McCarthy)
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that includes muster rolls for Torpedo Squadron Seven-VT-7, OB-U.S.S. Wasp, 12/31/41-11/27/42 and Wasp (CV-7), 4/25/40-11/2/42 . These files have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog. Please note that the muster rolls only list enlisted personnel.
We also located World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, ca. 1/1/1942 - ca. 6/1/1946 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that contains the reports USS HUDSON - Rep On Loss of USS WASP and USS SAN FRANCISCO - Act Rep - Torpedoing of WASP, N CAROLINA & O'BRIEN, 9/15/42 (Enc A) (1 End) which are available online. There are also war diaries of the USS Wasp, although none of the diaries of the Wasp are for September 1942. Please keep in mind that the Catalog does not always list files in chronological order, and that some of the linked war diaries are for the USS Wasp (CV-18) rather than the CV-7.
Additionally, we l ocated World War II Action and Operational Reports and World War II War Diaries, 12/7/1941 - 12/31/1945 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that may include reports submitted by or about the USS Wasp, VT 7, and the Guadalcanal campaign. Many of the records in these two series are duplicated in the previously linked digitized World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, ca. 1/1/1942 - ca. 6/1/1946 series, but they may contain some records not included in the digitized series and are only available in paper format.
Next, we located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck logs of the USS Wasp (CV-7) from January 1941 through July 1942. We do not have logs for August or September 1942. These were most likely lost when the ship sank. We do have logs for the Laffey (DD-459), Lansdowne (DD-486), Farenholt (DD-491), Lardner (DD-487), and Duncan (DD-485) that were all involved in the rescue operations. These logs have not been digitized and are not available online.
Further, we located the Confidential and Secret General Administrative Files, ca. 1/1943 - ca. 5/1945 for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) in the Records of Naval Operating Forces (Record Group 313) that includes the file [Enclosures] L11-1/BD ENCLOSURE: USS Wasp (CV7) - Loss in Action - War Damage Report #39 . Also from CINCPAC is the Secret and Top Secret General Administrative Files, 2/1/1941 - 12/31/1944 in Record Group 313 that includes 3 files relating to the loss of the USS Wasp. Plus, we located Secret General Administrative Files, 1942 - 1946 for the Commander, South Pacific Area and Force in Record Group 313 that includes 4 files relating to the loss of the USS Wasp and other ships. And we located the Records Relating to Operations, 5/1942 - 12/1943 of the Commander, Air Forces, South Pacific in Record Group 313 that includes information about the Guadalcanal campaign.
In addition, we located the War Damage Reports and Related Records, ca. 1941 - 1947 and the General Correspondence Filed Under Filing Classifications CA/A1-3 To CVL48-49/588, 1940 - 1945 in the Records of the Bureau of Ships (Record Group 19) that includes records concerning the loss of the USS Wasp.
For more information about the non-digitized records listed above, please email the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at [email protected] .
If you have not done so already, you may wish to request a copy of your father’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) . OMPFs and medical records of enlisted men of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service after 1885 and prior to 1958 are located at NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. To request these records, please mail a completed GSA Standard Form 180 to NPRC. When filling out the form, please mark &ldquoGenealogy” as the purpose for your order and for the items you are requesting check &ldquoOther” and write that you want his entire file. If there is any information requested by the form which you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates, however the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file. Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests .
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. Also, the NPRC is closed except for emergencies. Currently, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, and homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines . Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels. Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Finally, we searched online and located multiple web pages on the loss of the USS Wasp:
Seeking shipmates who served on USS WaspJason Atkinson 17.11.2020 8:42 (в ответ на peterson denis)
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
Navy personnel diaries (also known as muster rolls) after 1976 are in the custody of the Navy Personnel Command (PERS-00J6), 5720 Integrity Drive, Millington, TN 38055. These provide a listing of anyone who reported on-board each day, anyone who left, anyone who did not report, and anyone who reenlisted. They also include copies of the Officer Distribution Control Report (ODCR) and the Enlisted Distribution Verification Report (EDVR). Individuals are listed by name, rank/rate and social security number.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) does not provide services to locate living individuals. The records in the custody of NARA were typically transferred from other Federal agencies at least 20-30 years after they were created and used. Therefore, NARA records are not usually helpful in providing current information about individuals. Please review NARA’s Locating Veterans and Service Members web pages for some ideas.
In addition to the suggestions on the linked page, you may wish to contact the USS Wasp Association , which accepts as members former crew of both the USS Wasp (CV-18) and the USS Wasp (LHD-1). We also located the Facebook groups USS WASP (LHD-1) , USS Wasp Association , and 2021 WASP REUNION .
USS Wasp Is the Worst Aircraft Carrier In History
The USS Wasp was fatally compromised by the need to conform to international treaty obligations.
Here's What You Need To Know: The ship was ultimately done in by out of control fires that the crew was unable to control. A wartime report prepared by the Navy blamed Wasp’s poor firefighting efforts on a combination of poor water pressure, damage to existing fire fighting facilities, other fire fighting facilities that came up short, and the existing gasoline stowage system, which was active, that fed the fires.
(This first appeared in April 2019.)
The U.S. Navy rose to prominence during World War II from just one of many major naval powers to the undisputed greatest in just four short years. This was in large part due to the expansion and effective use of its aircraft carrier fleet. Although most American flattops that fought in the war were highly successful designs one, USS Wasp, was fatally compromised by the need to conform to international treaty obligations. The result was a carrier that was quickly sunk early on in the war, making only a modest contribution to the overall effort.
A Treaty Like No Other:
One of the most ambitious conventional arms control treaties ever signed was the Washington Naval Treaty. The multinational treaty was negotiated between 1921 and 1922 and resulted in limits in the size of individual warships and the overall tonnage of the navies of the United Kingdom, United States, Italy, and France.
The Washington Naval Treaty had two major provisions: the limitation of fleets and individual warships by tonnage. The treaty limited the size of battleships and battlecruisers built by participants to 35,000 tons or less. The treaty also limited participating countries to a ratio of 5:5:3:1.75:1.75 for the UK, the United States, Japan, Italy, and France. In other words, for every 5 tons of warship the treaty authorized the U.S. to build, Italy could build 1.75 tons. The United States was restricted to 525,000 tons for the overall size of its fleet (the equivalent of five of today’s Nimitz-class supercarriers) and 135,000 tons of aircraft carriers--of which individual carriers could weigh no more than 27,000 tons.
Throughout the 1920s the United States had three aircraft carriers: USS Lexington, USS Saratoga, and USS Langley, the first purpose-built U.S. Navy carrier and technically as an experimental ship not part of the treaty. The Navy’s had allocated all but 14,700 tons of its carrier treaty allowance and decided to build a small carrier, USS Wasp, with the remaining tonnage. The particular compromises allowed by the Navy to keep it within its weight obligation ultimately doomed the ship during its trial by fire in 1942.
The Story of the USS Wasp:
USS Wasp (CV-7) was authorized by Congress in March 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, laid down in April 1936, launched in April 1939, and commissioned in April 1940. The Navy tried to fit as many features from the larger Yorktown-class carriers into Wasp, but the latter was a full 5,000 tons smaller than the former, and adding all of them was physically impossible. The smaller carrier was relatively modest by the standards of fleet carriers. CV-7 was 688 feet long at the waterline with an overall length--including flight deck--of 720 feet. She had an overall beam of 109 feet, weighed 14,700 tons empty and 19,000 tons fully loaded.
The demands of the treaty instilled a number of weaknesses in Wasp. Armor was extremely light for a peacetime aircraft carrier, with machinery, magazines, aviation fuel, and rudder control all covered by a maximum of 4 inches of armor. Vital spaces in the island only had only .75 inches of armor, and the conning tower had just 1.5 inches of armor. Other issues included a Wasp had a unique round bottom, a hull strengthened only to the hangar deck, and the ship was the “last combatant ship to have a transversely framed hull”. As a result, Wasp was uniquely susceptible to damage and the ship’s best bet to avoid sinking in combat was to outmaneuver the enemy.
Another major problem with Wasp went undiagnosed until the fatal attack that sunk her in 1942. Although the Navy had judged her as having excellent firefight capabilities, these came up short during an actual attack. The ship was ultimately done in by out of control fires that the crew was unable to control. A wartime report prepared by the Navy blamed Wasp’s poor firefighting efforts on a combination of poor water pressure, damage to existing fire fighting facilities, other fire fighting facilities that came up short, and the existing gasoline stowage system, which was active, that fed the fires.
On September 15th, 1942 USS Wasp was struck by three torpedoes from the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-19. Wasp at first though survivable and was even able to remain under her own power, but gasoline fires swept through the ship and made her recovery impossible. After five hours the order was given to abandon ship, and Wasp was scuttled by three torpedoes fired by the destroyer USS Lansdowne. Of the ship’s 2,247 crew, 193 were killed and 366 wounded.
Wasp was not a terrible aircraft carrier, but she had enough shortcomings to succumb to battle damage in September 1942. Although she had light armor, the Navy concluded that she could have survived the three torpedoes that struck her were it not for the fires that followed. The carrier’s firefighting capabilities were in large part hobbled by battle damage from the torpedo attacks, so it could well be argued that a better-protected ship would have had a better organized and effective damage control effort. While not all of the ship’s shortcomings contributed to the sinking, a better ship not constrained by the demands of a treaty might well have shrugged off the torpedoes and kept fighting.
Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.
World War II [ edit | edit source ]
1943–1944 [ edit | edit source ]
Following a shakedown cruise which lasted through the end of 1943, Wasp returned to Boston for a brief yard period to correct minor flaws which had been discovered during her time at sea. On 10 January 1944, the new aircraft carrier departed Boston steamed to Hampton Roads, Virginia and remained there until the last day of the month, when she sailed for Trinidad, her base of operations through 22 February. She returned to Boston five days later and prepared for service in the Pacific. Early in March, the ship sailed south transited the Panama Canal arrived at San Diego on 21 March and reached Pearl Harbor on 4 April.
Following training exercises in Hawaiian waters, Wasp steamed to the Marshall Islands and at Majuro, Rear Admiral Alfred E. Montgomery's newly formed Task Group 58.6 (TG 58.6) of Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 58). On 14 May, she and her sister carriers of TG 58.6, Essex and San Jacinto, sortied for raids on Marcus and Wake Islands to give the new task group combat experience to test a recently devised system of assigning—before takeoff—each pilot a specific target, and to neutralize those islands for the forthcoming Marianas Campaign. As the force neared Marcus, it split, sending San Jacinto north to search for Japanese picket boats while Wasp and Essex launched strikes on 19 and 20 May, aimed at installations on the island. American planes encountered heavy Antiaircraft fire but still managed to do enough damage to prevent Japanese forces on the island from interfering with the impending assault on Saipan.
USS Wasp at Ulithi atoll on 8 December 1944.
When weather canceled launches planned for 21 May, the two carriers rejoined San Jacinto and steamed to Wake. Planes from all three carriers pounded that island on 24 May and were sufficiently effective to neutralize that base. However, the system of pre-selecting targets for each plane fell short of the Navy's expectations, and, thereafter, tactical air commanders resumed responsibility for directing the attacks of their planes.
After the strike on Wake, TG 58.6 returned to Majuro to prepare for the Marianas campaign. On 6 June, Wasp—reassigned to TG 58.2 which was also commanded by Rear Admiral Montgomery—sortied for the invasion of Saipan. During the afternoon of 11 June, she and her sister carriers launched fighters for strikes against Japanese air bases on Saipan and Tinian. They were challenged by some 30 land-based fighters, which they promptly shot down. Antiaircraft fire was heavy, but the American planes braved it as they went on to destroy many of the Japanese aircraft still on the ground.
During the next three days, the American fighters—now joined by bombers—pounded installations on Saipan to soften up Japanese defenses for American assault troops who would go ashore on 15 June. That day and thereafter until the morning of June, planes from TGs 58.2 and TG 58.3 provided close air support for Marines fighting on the Saipan beachhead.
The fast carriers of those task groups then turned over to escort carriers responsibility for providing air support for the American ground forces, refueled, and steamed to rendezvous with TGs 58.1 and 58.4 which were returning from strikes against Chichi and Iwo Jima to prevent Japanese air bases on those islands from being used to launch attacks against American forces on or near Saipan.
Meanwhile, Japan—determined to defend Saipan, no matter how high the cost—was sending Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa's powerful First Mobile Fleet from the Sulu Islands to the Marianas to sink the warships of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance's 5th Fleet and to annihilate the American troops who had fought their way ashore on Saipan. Soon after the Japanese task force sortied from Tawi Tawi on the morning of 13 June, American submarine Redfin spotted and reported it. Other submarines—which from time to time made contact with Ozawa's warships—kept Spruance posted on their progress as they wended their way through the Philippine Islands, transited San Bernardino Strait, and entered the Philippine Sea.
All day on 18 June, each force sent out scout planes in an effort to locate its adversary. Because of their greater range, the Japanese aircraft managed to obtain some knowledge of Spruance's ships, but American scout planes were unable to find Ozawa's force. Early the following morning, 19 June, aircraft from Mitscher's carriers headed for Guam to neutralize that island for the coming battle and in a series of dogfights, destroyed many Japanese land-based planes.
During the morning, carriers from Ozawa's fleet launched four massive raids against their American counterparts, but all were thwarted almost completely. Nearly all of the Japanese warplanes were shot down while failing to sink a single American ship. They did manage to score a single bomb hit on South Dakota, but that solitary success did not even put the battleship out of action.
That day, Mitscher's planes did not find the Japanese ships, but American submarines succeeded in sending two enemy carriers (Taihō and Shōkaku) to the bottom. In the evening, three of Mitscher's four carrier task groups headed west in search of Ozawa's retiring fleet, leaving only TG 58.4 and a gun line of old battleships in the immediate vicinity of the Marianas to cover ground forces on Saipan. Planes from the American carriers failed to find the Japanese force until mid-afternoon on the 20th when an Avenger pilot reported spotting Ozawa almost 300 mi ( km) from the American carriers. Mitscher daringly ordered an all-out strike even though he knew that night would descend before his planes could return.
Over two hours later, the American aviators caught up with their quarry. They damaged two oilers so severely that they had to be scuttled sank carrier Hiyō, and scored damaging but non-lethal hits on carriers Ryuho, Junyō, Zuikaku, and several other Japanese ships. However, during the sunset attack, the fuel gauges in many of the American planes registered half empty or more, presaging an anxious flight back to their now distant carriers.
When the carriers spotted the first returning plane at 2030 that night, Rear Admiral J. J. Clark bravely defied the menace of Japanese submarines by ordering all lights to be turned on to guide the weary fliers home.
After a plane from Hornet landed on Lexington Mitscher gave pilots permission to land on any available deck. Despite these unusual efforts to help the Navy's airmen, a good many planes ran out of gasoline before they reached the carriers and dropped into the water.
When fuel calculations indicated that no aircraft which had not returned could still be aloft, Mitscher ordered the carriers to reverse course and resume the stern chase of Ozawa's surviving ships—more in the hope of finding any downed fliers who might still be alive and pulling them from the sea than in the expectation of overtaking Japan's First Mobile Fleet before it reached the protection of the Emperor's land-based planes. During the chase, Mitscher's ships picked up 36 pilots and 26 crewmen.
At mid-morning of 21 June, Admiral Spruance detached Wasp and Bunker Hill from their task group and sent them with Admiral Lee's battleships in Ozawa's wake to locate and destroy any crippled enemy ships. The ensuing two-day hunt failed to flush out any game, so this ad hoc force headed toward Eniwetok for replenishment and well-earned rest.
The respite was brief, for, on 30 June, Wasp sortied in TG 58.2—with TG 68.1—for strikes at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. Planes from the carriers pounded those islands on 3–4 July and, during the raids, destroyed 75 enemy aircraft, for the most part in the air. Then, as a grand finale, cruisers from the force's screen shelled Iwo Jima for two and one-half hours. The next day, 5 July, the two task groups returned to the Marianas and attacked Guam and Rota to begin more than a fortnight's effort to soften the Japanese defenses there in preparation for landings on Guam. Planes from Wasp and her sister carriers provided close air support for the marines and soldiers who stormed ashore on 21 July.
The next day, TG 58.2 sortied with two other groups of Mitscher's carriers headed southwest toward the Western Carolines, and launched raids against the Palaus on the 25th. The force then parted, with TGs 58.1 and 58.3 steaming back north for further raids to keep the Bonin and Volcano Islands neutralized while Wasp in TG 58.2 was retiring toward the Marshalls for replenishment at Eniwetok which she reached on 2 August.
Toward the end of Wasp ' s stay at that base, Admiral Halsey relieved Admiral Spruance on 26 August and the 5th Fleet became the 3rd Fleet. Two days later, the Fast Carrier Task Force—redesignated TF 38—sortied for the Palaus. On 6 September, Wasp, now assigned to Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Sr.'s TG 38.1, began three days of raids on the Palaus. On 9 September, she headed for the southern Philippines to neutralize air power there during the American conquest of Morotai, Peleliu, and Ulithi—three islands needed as advanced bases during the impending campaign to liberate the Philippines. Planes from these carriers encountered little resistance as they lashed Mindanao airfields that day and on 10 September. Raids against the Visayan Islands on 12 and 13 September were carried out with impunity and were equally successful. Learning of the lack of Japanese air defenses in the southern Philippines enabled Allied strategists to cancel an invasion of Mindanao which had been scheduled to begin on 16 November. Instead, Allied forces could go straight to Leyte and advance the recapture of Philippine soil by almost a month.
USS Wasp on 6 August 1945
D-day in the Palaus, 15 September, found Wasp and TG 38.1 some 50 mi (80 km) off Morotai, launching air strikes. It then returned to the Philippines for revisits to Mindanao and the Visayas before retiring to the Admiralties on 29 September for replenishment at Manus in preparation for the liberation of the Philippines.
Ready to resume battle, she got underway again on 4 October and steamed to the Philippine Sea where TF 38 reassembled at twilight on the evening of 7 October, some 375 mi (604 km) west of the Marianas. Its mission was to neutralize airbases within operational air distance of the Philippines to keep Japanese warplanes out of the air during the American landings on Leyte scheduled to begin on 20 October. The carriers steamed north to rendezvous with a group of nine oilers and spent the next day, 8 October, refueling. They then followed a generally northwesterly course toward the Ryūkyūs until 10 October when their planes raided Okinawa, Amami, and Miyaki. That day, TF 38 planes destroyed a Japanese submarine tender, 12 sampans, and over 100 planes. But for Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle's Tokyo raid from Hornet (CV-8) on 18 April 1942 and the daring war patrols of Pacific Fleet submarines, this carrier foray was the United States Navy's closest approach to the Japanese home islands up to that point in the war.
Beginning on 12 October, Formosa received three days of unwelcome attention from TF 38 planes. In response, the Japanese Navy made an all-out effort to protect that strategic island, even though doing so meant denuding its remaining carriers of aircraft. Yet, the attempt to thwart the ever advancing American Pacific Fleet was futile. At the end of a three-day air battle, Japan had lost more than 500 planes and 20-odd freighters. Many other merchant ships were damaged as were hangars, barracks, warehouses, industrial plants, and ammunition dumps. However, the victory was costly to the United States Navy, for TF 38 lost 79 planes and 64 pilots and air crewmen, while cruisers Canberra and Houston and carrier Franklin received damaging, but non-lethal, bomb hits.
From Formosa, TF 38 shifted its attention to the Philippines. After steaming to waters east of Luzon, TG 58.1 began to launch strikes against that island on the 18th and continued the attack the following day, hitting Manila for the first time since it was occupied by the Japanese early in the war.
On 20 October, the day the first American troops waded ashore on Leyte, Wasp had moved south to the station off that island whence she and her sister carriers launched some planes for close air support missions to assist MacArthur's soldiers, while sending other aircraft to destroy airfields on Mindanao, Cebu, Negros, Panay, and Leyte. TG 38.1 refueled the following day and, on 22 October, set a course for Ulithi to rearm and provision.
While McCain's carriers were steaming away from the Philippines, great events were taking place in the waters of that archipelago. Admiral Soemu Toyoda, the Commander in Chief of Japan's Combined Fleet, activated plan Sho-Go-1, a scheme for bringing about a decisive naval action off Leyte, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
The Japanese strategy called for Ozawa's carriers to act as a decoy to lure TF 38 north of Luzon and away from the Leyte beachhead. Then—with the American fast carriers out of the way—heavy Japanese surface ships were to debouch into Leyte Gulf from two directions: from the south through Surigao Strait and from the north through San Bernardino Strait. During much of 24 October, planes from Halsey's carrier task groups still in Philippine waters pounded Admiral Kurita's powerful Force "A", or Center Force, as it steamed across the Sibuyan Sea toward San Bernardino Strait. When darkness stopped their attack, the American aircraft had sunk superbattleship Musashi and had damaged several other Japanese warships. Moreover, Halsey's pilots reported that Kurita's force had reversed course and was moving away from San Bernardino Strait. That night, Admiral Nishimura's Force "C", or Southern Force, attempted to transit Surigao Strait but met a line of old battleships commanded by Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf. The venerable American men-of-war crossed Nishimura's "T" and all but annihilated his force. Admiral Shima—who was following in Nishimura's wake to lend support—realized that disaster had struck and wisely withdrew.
Meanwhile, late in the afternoon of 24 October—after Kurita's Center Force had turned away from San Bernardino Strait in apparent retreat—Halsey's scout planes finally located Ozawa's carriers less than 200 mi (320 km) north of TF 38. This intelligence prompted Halsey to head north toward Ozawa with his Fast Carrier Task Force. However, at this point, he did not recall McCain's TG 68.1 but allowed it to continue steaming toward Ulithi.
After dark, Kurita's Center Force again reversed course and once more headed for San Bernardino Strait. About 30 minutes past midnight, it transited that narrow passage turned to starboard and steamed south, down the east coast of Samar. Since Halsey had dashed north in pursuit of Ozawa's carriers, only three 7th Fleet escort carrier groups and their destroyer and destroyer escort screens were available to challenge Kurita's mighty battleships and heavy cruisers and to protect the American amphibious ships which were supporting the troops fighting on Leyte.
Remembered by their call names, "Taffy 1", "Taffy 2", and "Taffy 3", these three American escort-carrier groups were deployed along Samar's east coast with Taffy 3 in the northernmost position, about 40 mi ( km) off Paninihian Point. Taffy 2 was covering Leyte Gulf, and "Taffy 1" was still farther south watching Surigao Strait.
At 0645, lookouts on Taffy 3 ships spotted bursts of antiaircraft fire blossoming in the northern sky, as Center Force gunners opened fire on an American anti-submarine patrol plane. Moments later, Taffy 3 made both radar and visual contact with the approaching Japanese warships. Shortly before 0700, Kurita's guns opened fire on the hapless "baby flattops" and their comparatively tiny but incredibly courageous escorts. For more than two hours, Taffy 3's ships and planes—aided by aircraft from sister escort-carrier groups to the south—fought back with torpedoes, guns, bombs, and consummate seamanship. Then, at 0311, Kurita—shaken by the loss of three heavy cruisers and thinking that he had been fighting TF 38—ordered his remaining warships to break off the action.
Meanwhile, at 0848, Admiral Halsey had radioed McCain's TG 68.1—then refueling en route to Ulithi—calling that carrier group back to Philippine waters to help Taffy 3 in its fight for survival. Wasp and her consorts raced toward Samar at flank speed until 1030 when they began launching planes for strikes at Kurita's ships which were still some 330 miles away. While these raids did little damage to the Japanese Center Force, they did strengthen Kurita's decision to retire from Leyte.
While his planes were in the air, McCain's carriers continued to speed westward to lessen the distance of his pilots' return flight and to be in optimum position at dawn to launch more warplanes at the fleeing enemy force. With the first light of 26 October, TG 38.1 and Rear Admiral Bogan's TG 38.2—which finally had been sent south by Halsey—launched the first of their strikes that day against Kurita. The second left the carriers a little over two hours later. These fliers sank light cruiser Noshiro and damaged, but did not sink, heavy cruiser Kumano. The two task groups launched a third strike in the early afternoon, but it did not add to their score.
Following the Battle of Leyte Gulf, TG 38.1 operated in the Philippines for two more days providing close air support before again heading for Ulithi on 28 October. However, the respite—during which Rear Admiral Montgomery took command of TG 38.1 when McCain fleeted up to relieve Mitscher as TF 38—was brief Japanese land-based planes attacked troops on the Leyte beachhead on 1 November. Wasp participated in raids against Luzon air bases on 5 and 6 October, destroying over 400 Japanese aircraft, for the most part on the ground. After a kamikaze hit Lexington during the operation, McCain shifted his flag from that carrier to Wasp and, a short time later, returned in her to Guam to exchange air groups.
Wasp returned to the Philippines a little before mid-month and continued to send strikes against targets in the Philippines until 26 October when the Army Air Forces assumed responsibility for providing air support for troops on Leyte. TF 38 then retired to Ulithi. There, the carriers received greater complements of fighter planes and, in late November and early December, conducted training exercises to prepare them better to deal with the new kamikaze threat.
TF 38 sortied from Ulithi on 10 and 11 December and proceeded to a position east of Luzon for round-the-clock strikes against air bases on that island from 14 through 16 December to prevent Japanese fighter planes from endangering landings on the southwest coast of Mindoro scheduled for 15 December. Then, while withdrawing to a fueling rendezvous point east of the Philippines, TF㺦 was caught in a terribly destructive typhoon which battered its ships and sank three American destroyers. The carriers spent most of the ensuing week repairing storm damage and returned to Ulithi on Christmas Eve.
But the accelerating tempo of the war ruled out long repose in the shelter of the lagoon. Before the year ended, the carriers were back in action against airfields in the Philippines on Sakishima Gunto, and on Okinawa. These raids were intended to smooth the way for General MacArthur's invasion of Luzon through the Lingayen Gulf. While the carrier planes were unable to knock out all Japanese air resistance to the Luzon landings, they did succeed in destroying many enemy planes and thus reduced the air threat to manageable proportions.
On the night after the initial landings on Luzon, Halsey took TF 38 into the South China Sea for a week's rampage in which his ships and planes took a heavy toll of Japanese shipping and aircraft before they retransited Luzon Strait on 16 December and returned to the Philippine Sea. Bad weather prevented Halsey's planes from going aloft for the next few days but on 21 December, they bombed Formosa, the Pescadores, and the Sakishimas. The following day, the aircraft returned to the Sakishimas and the Ryūkyūs for more bombing and reconnaissance. The overworked Fast Carrier Task Force then headed for Ulithi and entered that lagoon on 26 December.
While the flattops were catching their breath at Ulithi, Admiral Spruance relieved Halsey in command of the Fleet, which was thereby transformed on 3–5 January. The metamorphosis also entailed Mitscher's replacing McCain and Clark's resuming command of TG 68.1—still Wasp ' s task group.
1945 [ edit | edit source ]
The next major operation dictated by Allied strategy was the capture of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. Iwo was needed as a base for fighter planes to escort B-29 Superfortress bombers from the Marianas attacking the Japanese home islands, and as an emergency landing point for crippled planes. TF 58 sortied on 10 February, held rehearsals at Tinian, and then headed for Japan.
Fighter planes took off from the carriers before dawn on 16 February to clear the skies of Japanese aircraft. They succeeded in this mission, but Wasp lost several of her fighters during the sweep. Bombing sorties, directed primarily at aircraft factories in Tokyo, followed but clouds hid many of these plants, forcing some planes to drop their bombs on secondary targets. Bad weather, which also hampered Mitscher's fliers during raids the next morning, prompted him to cancel strikes scheduled for the afternoon and head the task force west.
During the night, Mitscher turned the carriers toward the Volcano Islands to be on hand to provide air support for the Marines who would land on beaches of Iwo Jima on the morning of 19 February.
For the next few days, planes from the American carriers continued to assist the marines who were engaged in a bloody struggle to wrest the island from its fanatical defenders. On 23 February, Mitscher led his carriers back to Japan for more raids on Tokyo. Planes took off on the morning of 25 February, but, when they reached Tokyo, they again found their targets obscured by clouds. Moreover, visibility was so bad the next day that raids on Nagoya were called off, and the carriers steamed south toward the Ryūkyūs to bomb and reconnoiter Okinawa, the next prize to be taken from the Japanese Empire. Planes left the carriers at dawn on 1 March and, throughout the day, they hammered and photographed the islands of the Ryūkyū group. Then, after a night bombardment by surface ships, TF 58 set a course for the Carolines and anchored in Ulithi lagoon on the 4th.
Damaged as she was, Wasp recorded—from 17 to 23 March—what was often referred to as the busiest week in flattop history. In these seven days, Wasp accounted for 14 enemy planes in the air, destroyed six more on the ground, scored two 500 lb (230 kg) bomb hits on each of two Japanese carriers, dropped two 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs on a Japanese battleship, put one 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb on another battleship, hit a heavy cruiser with three 500 lb (230 kg) missiles, dropped another 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb on a big cargo ship, and heavily strafed "and probably sank" a large Japanese submarine. During this week, Wasp was under almost continuous attack by shore-based aircraft and experienced several close kamikaze attacks. The carrier's gunners fired more than 10,000 rounds at the determined Japanese attackers.
On 13 April 1945, Wasp returned to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, and had the damage caused by the bomb hit repaired. Once whole again, she steamed to Hawaii and, after a brief sojourn at Pearl Harbor, headed toward the western Pacific on 12 July 1945. Wasp conducted a strike at Wake Island and paused briefly at Eniwetok before rejoining the rampaging Fast Carrier Task Force. In a series of strikes, unique in the almost complete absence of enemy airborne planes, Wasp pilots struck Yokosuka Naval Base near Tokyo, numerous airfields, and hidden manufacturing centers. On 9 August, a kamikaze plane swooped down at the carrier, but an alert gunner, who was cleaning his gun at the time, started shooting at the airplane. He shot straight through the windshield and killed the pilot, but the plane kept on coming. Next, he shot off a wing of the airplane causing it to veer off to the side, missing the ship.
Then, on 15 August, when the fighting should have been over, two Japanese planes tried to attack Wasp ' s task group. Fortunately, Wasp pilots were still flying on combat air patrol and sent both enemies smoking into the sea. This was the last time Wasp pilots and gunners were to tangle with the Japanese.
On 25 August 1945, a severe typhoon, with winds reaching 78 kn (140 km/h), engulfed Wasp and stove in about 30 ft (9 m) of her bow. The carrier, despite the hazardous job of flying from such a shortened deck, continued to launch her planes on missions of mercy or patrol as they carried food, medicine, and long-deserved luxuries to American prisoners of war at Narumi, near Nagoya.
The ship returned to Boston for Navy Day, 27 October 1945. On 30 October, Wasp moved to the naval shipyard in New York, to have extra accommodations installed for transportation of troops returning from the Pacific. This work was completed on 15 November and enabled her to accommodate some 5,500 enlisted passengers and 400 officers.
Post-war [ edit | edit source ]
1947–1951 [ edit | edit source ]
After receiving the new alterations, Wasp was assigned temporary duty as an Operation Magic Carpet troop transport, bringing Italian P.O.W.s back to Italy. On 17 February 1947, Wasp was placed out of commission in reserve, attached to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
In the summer of 1948, Wasp was taken out of the reserve fleet and placed in the New York Naval Shipyard for refitting and alterations to enable her to accommodate the larger, heavier, and faster planes of the jet age. Upon the completion of this conversion, the ship was recommissioned on 10 September 1951.
1951–1955 [ edit | edit source ]
Wasp reported to the Atlantic Fleet in November 1951 and began a period of shakedown training which lasted until February 1952. After returning from the shakedown cruise, she spent a month in the New York Naval Shipyard preparing for duty in distant waters.
On 26 April 1952, Wasp collided with destroyer minesweeper Hobson while conducting night flying operations en route to Gibraltar. Hobson lost 176 of the crew, including her skipper. Rapid rescue operations saved 52 men. Wasp sustained no personnel casualties, but her bow was torn by a 75-foot saw-tooth rip.
The carrier proceeded to Bayonne, New Jersey, for repairs and, after she entered drydock there, the bow of aircraft carrier Hornet (CV-12)—then undergoing conversion—was removed and floated by barge from Brooklyn, New York, and fitted into position on Wasp, replacing the badly shattered forward end of the ship. This remarkable task was completed in only 10 days, enabling the carrier to get underway to cross the Atlantic.
On 2 June 1952, Wasp relieved Tarawa at Gibraltar and joined Carrier Division 6 in the Mediterranean Sea. After conducting strenuous flight operations between goodwill visits to many Mediterranean ports, Wasp was relieved at Gibraltar on 5 September by Leyte.
After taking part in the NATO Exercise Mainbrace at Greenock, Scotland, and enjoying a liberty period at Plymouth, Wasp headed home and arrived at Norfolk early on the morning of 13 October 1952.
On 7 November 1952, Wasp entered the New York Naval Shipyard to commence a seven-month yard period to prepare her for a world cruise which was to bring her into the Pacific Fleet once more. After refresher training in the Caribbean, Wasp departed Norfolk on 16 September 1953.
Wasp left Norfolk and went to Europe, then went through the Suez canal stopping at an unexpected stop in Colombo Ceylon(Shri lanka), the carrier made a brief visit to Japan and then conducted strenuous operations with the famed TF 77. While operating in the western Pacific, she made port calls at Hong Kong, Manila, Subic Bay, Yokosuka, and Sasebo.
On 10 January 1954, China's Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek spent more than four hours on board Wasp watching simulated air war maneuvers in Formosan waters. On 12 March, President Ramon Magsaysay of the Republic of the Philippines came on board to observe air operations as a guest of American Ambassador Raymond A. Spruance. Wasp operated out of Subic Bay, Philippines, for a time, then sailed for Japan where, in April 1954, she was relieved by Boxer and sailed for her new home port of San Diego.
Wasp spent the next few months preparing for another tour of the Orient. She departed the United States in September 1954 and steamed to the Far East visiting Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima en route. She relieved Boxer in October 1954 and engaged in air operations in the South China Sea with Carrier Task Group 70.2. Wasp visited the Philippine Islands in November and December and proceeded to Japan early in 1955 to join TF㻍. While operating with that naval organization, Wasp provided air cover for the evacuation of the Tachen Islands by the Chinese Nationalists.
After the Tachen evacuation, Wasp stopped at Japan before returning to San Diego in April. She entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard in May for a seven-month conversion and overhaul. On 1 December, the carrier returned to duty displaying a new angled flight deck and a hurricane bow. As 1955 ended, Wasp had returned to San Diego and was busily preparing for another Far Eastern tour.
1956–1960 [ edit | edit source ]
After training during the early months of 1956, Wasp departed San Diego on 23 April for another cruise to the Far East with Carrier Air Group 15 embarked. She stopped at Pearl Harbor to undergo inspection and training and then proceeded to Guam where she arrived in time for the Armed Forces Day ceremonies on 14 May. En route to Japan in May, she joined TF 77 for Operation Sea Horse, a five-day period of day and night training for the ship and air group. The ship arrived at Yokosuka on 4 June visited Iwakuni, Japan, then steamed to Manila for a brief visit. Following a drydock period at Yokosuka, Wasp again steamed south to Cubi Point, Philippine Islands for the commissioning of the new naval air station there. Carrier Air Group 15 provided an air show for President Magsaysay and Admiral Arthur Radford. During the third week of August, Wasp was at Yokosuka enjoying what was scheduled to be a fortnight's stay, but she sailed a week early to aid other ships in searching for survivors of a Navy patrol plane which had been shot down on 23 August off the coast of mainland China. After a futile search, the ship proceeded to Kobe, Japan, and made a final stop at Yokosuka before leaving the Far East.
Wasp returned to San Diego on 15 October and while there was reclassified an antisubmarine warfare aircraft carrier CVS-18, effective on 1 November 1956. She spent the last days of 1956 in San Diego preparing for her transfer to the east coast.
Wasp left San Diego on the last day of January 1957, rounded Cape Horn for operations in the South Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, then proceeded to Boston where she arrived on 21 March. The carrier came into Norfolk, Virginia, on 6 April to embark members of her crew from the Antisubmarine Warfare School. The carrier spent the next few months in tactics along the eastern seaboard and in the waters off Bermuda before returning to Boston on 16 August.
On 3 September, Wasp got underway to participate in NATO Operations "Seaspray" and "Strikeback", which took her to the coast of Scotland and simulated nuclear attacks and counterattacks on 130 different land bases. The carrier returned to Boston on 23 October 1957 and entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul which was not completed until 10 March 1958 when she sailed for antisubmarine warfare practice at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Upon returning to Boston on 29 April and picking up air squadrons at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, R.I., on 12 May, she became the hub of TF 66, a special antisubmarine group of the 6th Fleet.
The carrier began her Atlantic crossing on 12 May and sailed only a few hundred miles when trouble flared in Lebanon. Wasp arrived at Gibraltar on 21 May and headed east, making stops at Souda Bay, Crete, Rhodes, and Athens. Wasp next spent 10 days at sea conducting a joint Italian-American antisubmarine warfare exercise in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Sardinia. On 15 July, the carrier put to sea to patrol waters off Lebanon. Her Marine helicopter transport squadron left the ship five days later to set up camp at the Beirut International Airport. They flew reconnaissance missions and transported the sick and injured from Marine battalions in the hills to the evacuation hospital at the airport. She continued to support forces a shore in Lebanon until 17 September 1958 when she departed Beirut Harbor, bound for home. She reached Norfolk on 7 October, unloaded supplies, and then made a brief stop at Quonset Point before arriving in her home port of Boston on 11 October.
Four days later, Wasp became flagship of Task Group Bravo, one of two new antisubmarine defense groups formed by the Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet. Wasp ' s air squadrons and seven destroyers were supported by shore-based seaplane patrol aircraft. She sailed from Quonset Point on 26 November for a 17-day cruise in the North Atlantic. This at-sea period marked the first time her force operated together as a team. The operations continued day and night to coordinate and develop the task group's team capabilities until she returned to Boston on 13 December 1958 and remained over the Christmas holiday season.
Wasp operated with Task Group Bravo throughout 1959, cruising along the eastern seaboard conducting operations at Norfolk, Bermuda, and Quonset Point. On 27 February 1960, she entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul. In mid-July, the carrier was ordered to the South Atlantic where she stood by when civil strife broke out in the newly independent Congo and operated in support of the United Nations airlift. She returned to her home port on 11 August and spent the remainder of the year operating out of Boston with visits to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for refresher training and exercises conducted in the Virginia Capes operating areas and the Caribbean operating areas. The carrier returned to Boston on 10 December and remained in port there into the New Year.
1961–1965 [ edit | edit source ]
On 9 January 1961, Wasp sailed for the Virginia Capes operating area and devoted the first half of 1961 to exercises there, at Narragansett Bay, R.I., and at Nova Scotia. On 9 June, Wasp got underway from Norfolk, for a three-month Mediterranean cruise. The ship conducted exercises at Augusta Bay, Sicily, Barcelona, Spain San Remo and La Spezia, Italy, Aranci Bay, Sardinia Genoa, Italy, and Cannes, France, and returned to Boston on 1 September. The carrier entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for an interim overhaul and resumed operations on 6 November 1961.
After loading food, clothing, and equipment, Wasp spent the period 11–18 January 1962 conducting antisubmarine warfare exercises and submarine surveillance off the east coast. After a brief stop at Norfolk, the ship steamed on to further training exercises and anchored off Bermuda 24–31 January. Wasp then returned to her home port.
On 17 February, a delegation from the Plimouth Plantation presented a photograph of the Mayflower II to Captain Brewer who accepted this gift for Wasp's "People to People" effort in the forthcoming European cruise.
On 18 February, Wasp departed Boston, bound for England, and arrived at Portsmouth on 1 March. On 16 March, the carrier arrived at Rotterdam, Netherlands, for a week's goodwill visit.
From 22 to 30 March, Wasp traveled to Greenock, Scotland, thence to Plymouth. On 17 April, Captain Brewer presented Alderman A. Goldberg, Lord Mayor of Plymouth, the large picture of Mayflower II as a gift from the people of Plymouth, Massachusetts. On 5 May, Wasp arrived at Kiel, West Germany, and became the first aircraft carrier to ever visit that port. The ship made calls at Oslo, Reykjavík, and NS Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, before returning to Boston, Mass., on 16 June.
From August through October, Wasp visited Newport, R.I., New York, and Earle, N.J., then conducted a dependents' cruise, as well as a reserve cruise, and visitors cruises. 1 November gave Wasp a chance to use her capabilities when she responded to a call from President John F. Kennedy and actively participated in the Cuban blockade. After tension relaxed, the carrier returned to Boston on 22 November for upkeep work, and, on 21 December, she sailed to Bermuda with 18 midshipmen from Boston area universities. Wasp returned to Boston on 29 December and finished out the year there.
The early part of 1963 saw Wasp conducting anti-submarine warfare exercises off the Virginia Capes and steaming along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in support of the presidential visit. On 21 March, President Kennedy arrived at San José for a conference with presidents of six Central American nations. After taking part in Fleet exercises off Puerto Rico, the carrier returned to Boston on 4 April. From 11 to 18 May, Wasp took station off Bermuda as a backup recovery ship for Major Gordon Cooper's historic Mercury space capsule recovery. The landing occurred as planned in the mid-Pacific near Midway Atoll, and carrier Kearsarge picked up Cooper and his Faith 7 spacecraft. Wasp then resumed antisubmarine warfare exercises along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean until she underwent overhaul in the fall of 1963 for FRAM (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) overhaul in the Boston Naval Shipyard.
In March 1964, the carrier conducted sea trials out of Boston. During April, she operated out of Norfolk and Narragansett Bay. She returned to Boston on 4 May and remained there until 14 May, when she got underway for refresher training in waters between Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Kingston, Jamaica, before returning to her home port on 3 June 1964.
On 21 July 1964, Wasp began a round-trip voyage to Norfolk and returned to Boston on 7 August. She remained there through 8 September when she headed, via the Virginia Capes operating area, to Valencia, Spain. She then cruised the Mediterranean, visiting ports in Spain, France, and Italy, and returned home on 18 December.
The carrier remained in port until 8 February 1965, and sailed for fleet exercises in the Caribbean. Operating along the eastern seaboard, she recovered the Gemini IV astronauts and their spacecraft on 7 June after splashdown. Gemini IV was the mission of the first American to walk in space, Edward White. During the summer, the ship conducted search and rescue operations for an Air Force C-121 plane which had gone down off Nantucket. Following an orientation cruise for 12 congressmen on 20–21 August, Wasp participated in joint training exercises with German and French forces. From 16 to 18 December, the carrier recovered the astronauts of Gemini VI and VII after their splashdown, and then returned to Boston on 22 December to finish out the year.
1966–1967 [ edit | edit source ]
Gemini IX astronauts Cernan and Stafford aboard Wasp on 9 June 1966
On 24 January 1966, Wasp departed Boston for fleet exercises off Puerto Rico. En route, heavy seas and high winds caused structural damage to the carrier. She put into Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, on 1 February to determine the extent of her damages and effect as much repair as possible. Engineers were flown from Boston who decided that the ship could cease "Springboard" operations early and return to Boston. The ship conducted limited anti-submarine operations from 6–8 February prior to leaving the area. She arrived at Boston on 18 February and was placed in restricted availability until 7 March, when her repair work was completed.
Wasp joined in exercises in the Narragansett Bay operating areas. While the carrier was carrying out this duty, a television film crew from the National Broadcasting Company was flown to Wasp on 21 March and stayed on the ship during the remainder of her period at sea, filming material for a special color television show to be presented on Armed Forces Day.
The carrier returned to Boston on 24 March 1966 and was moored there until 11 April. On 27 March, Doctor Ernst Lemberger, the Austrian Ambassador to the United States, visited the ship. On 18 April, the ship embarked several guests of the Secretary of the Navy and set courses for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She returned to Boston on 6 May. A week later, the veteran flattop sailed to take part in the recovery of the Gemini IX spacecraft. Embarked in Wasp were some 66 persons from NASA, the television industry, media personnel, an underwater demolition recovery team, and a Defense Department medical team. On 6 June, she recovered astronauts Lt. Col. Thomas P. Stafford and Lieutenant Commander Eugene Cernan and flew them to Cape Kennedy. Wasp returned their capsule to Boston.
Wasp participated in "ASWEX III", an antisubmarine exercise which lasted from 20 June through 1 July 1966. She spent the next 25 days in port at Boston for upkeep. On the 25th, the carrier got underway for "ASWEX IV". During this exercise, the Soviet intelligence collection vessel, Agi Traverz, entered the operation area necessitating a suspension of the operation and eventual repositioning of forces. The exercise was terminated on 5 August. She then conducted a dependents' day cruise on 8–9 August, and orientation cruises on 10, 11, and 22 August. After a two-day visit to New York, Wasp arrived in Boston on 1 September and underwent upkeep until 19 September. From that day to 4 October, she conducted hunter/killer operation s with the Royal Canadian Navy aircraft embarked.
Following upkeep at Boston, the ship participated in the Gemini XII recovery operation from 5 to 18 November 1966. The recovery took place on 15 November when the space capsule splashdown occurred within 3 mi (5 km) of Wasp. Captain James A. Lovell and Major Edwin E. Aldrin were lifted by helicopter hoist to the deck of Wasp and there enjoyed two days of celebration. Wasp arrived at Boston on 18 November with the Gemini XII spacecraft on board. After off-loading the special Gemini support equipment, Wasp spent 10 days making ready for her next period at sea.
On 28 November Wasp departed Boston to take part in the Atlantic Fleet's largest exercise of the year, "Lantflex-66", in which more than 100 US ships took part. The carrier returned to Boston on 16 December where she remained through the end of 1966.
Wasp served as carrier qualification duty ship for the Naval Air Training Command from 24 January to 26 February 1967 and conducted operations in the Gulf of Mexico and off the east coast of Florida. She called at New Orleans for Mardi Gras 4–8 February, at Pensacola on 11 and 12 February, and at Mayport, Florida, on 19 and 20 February. Returning to Boston a week later, she remained in port until 19 March when she sailed for "Springboard" operations in the Caribbean. On 24 March, Wasp joined Salamonie for an underway replenishment but suffered damage during a collision with the oiler. After making repairs at Roosevelt Roads, she returned to operations on 29 March and visited Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, and participated in the celebration from 30 March to 2 April which marked the 50th anniversary of the purchase of the Virgin Islands by the United States from Denmark. Wasp returned to Boston on 7 April, remained in port four days, then sailed to Earle, New Jersey, to off-load ammunition prior to overhaul. She visited New York for three days then returned to the Boston Naval Shipyard and began an overhaul on 21 April 1967 which was not completed until early 1968.
1968–1970 [ edit | edit source ]
Wasp completed her cyclical overhaul and conducted post-repair trials throughout January 1968. Returning to the Boston Naval Shipyard on 28 January, the ship made ready for two months of technical evaluation and training which began early in February.
Five weeks of refresher training for Wasp began on 28 February, under the operational control of Commander, Fleet Training Group, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 30 March, Wasp steamed north and was in Boston 6–29 April for routine upkeep and minor repairs. She then departed for operations in The Bahamas and took part in "Fixwex C", an exercise off the Bermuda coast. The carrier set course for home on 20 May but left five days later to conduct carrier qualifications for students of the Naval Air Training Command in the Jacksonville, Florida, operations area.
On 12 June, Wasp and Truckee had a minor collision during an underway replenishment. The carrier returned to Norfolk where an investigation into the circumstances of the collision was conducted. On 20 June, Wasp got underway for Boston, where she remained until 3 August when she moved to Norfolk to take on ammunition.
On 15 June, Wasp ' s home port was changed to Quonset Point, R.I., and she arrived there on 10 August to prepare for overseas movement. Ten days later, the carrier got underway for a deployment in European waters. The northern European portion of the cruise consisted of several operational periods and port visits to Portsmouth, England Firth of Clyde, Scotland Hamburg, Germany, and Lisbon, Portugal. Wasp, as part of TG 87.1, joined in the NATO Exercise "Silvertower", the largest combined naval exercise in four years. "Silvertower" brought together surface, air, and subsurface units of several NATO navies.
On 25 October 1968, the carrier entered the Mediterranean and, the following day, became part of TG 67.6. After a port visit to Naples, Italy, Wasp departed on 7 November to conduct antisubmarine warfare exercises in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Levantine Basin, and Ionian Basin. After loading aircraft in both Taranto and Naples, Italy, Wasp visited Barcelona, Spain, and Gibraltar. On 19 December, the ship returned to Quonset Point, R.I., and spent the remainder of 1968 in port.
Wasp began 1969 in her home port of Quonset Point. Following a yard period which lasted from 10 January through 17 February, the carrier conducted exercises as part of the White Task Group in the Bermuda operating area. The ship returned to Quonset Point on 6 March and began a month of preparations for overseas movement.
On 1 April 1969, Wasp sailed for the eastern Atlantic and arrived at Lisbon, Portugal on 16 April. From 21 to 26 April, she took part in joint Exercise "Trilant" which was held with the navies of the United States Spain, and Portugal. One of the highlights of the cruise occurred on 15 May as Wasp arrived at Portsmouth, England, and served as flagship for TF㻗, representing the United States in a NATO review by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in which 64 ships from the 11 NATO countries participated.
After conducting exercises and visiting Rotterdam, Oslo, and Copenhagen, Wasp headed home on 30 June and, but for a one-day United Fund cruise on 12 August, remained at Quonset Point until 24 August. The period from 29 August to 6 October was devoted to alternating operations between Corpus Christi, Tex., for advanced carrier qualifications, and Pensacola for basic qualifications, with inport periods at Pensacola.
A period of restricted availability began on 10 October and was followed by operations in the Virginia Capes area until 22 November. In December, Wasp conducted a carrier qualification mission in the Jacksonville operations area which lasted through 10 December. The ship arrived back at Quonset Point on 13 December and remained there for the holidays.
The carrier welcomed the year 1970 moored in her home port of Quonset Point but traveled over 40,000 mi (60,000 km) and was away from home port 265 days. On 4 January, she proceeded to Earle, N.J., and off-loaded ammunition prior to entering the Boston Naval Shipyard for a six-week overhaul on 9 January.
The carrier began a three-week shakedown cruise on 16 March but returned to her home port on 3 April and began preparing for an eastern Atlantic deployment. Wasp reached Lisbon on 25 May 1970 and dropped anchor in the Tagus River. A week later, the carrier got underway to participate in NATO Exercise "Night Patrol" with units from Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and West Germany. On 8 June, Wasp proceeded to Rota, Spain, to embark a group of midshipmen for a cruise to Copenhagen. During exercises in Scandinavian waters, the carrier was shadowed by Soviet naval craft and aircraft. The ship departed Copenhagen on 26 June and, three days later, crossed the Arctic Circle.
On 13 July 1970, Wasp arrived at Hamburg, Germany, and enjoyed the warmest welcome received in any port of the cruise. A Visitors' Day was held, and over 15,000 Germans were recorded as visitors to the carrier. After calls at Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, Wasp got underway on 10 August for operating areas in the Norwegian Sea. The carrier anchored near Plymouth on 28 August and, two days later, sailed for her home port.
Wasp returned to Quonset Point on 8 September and remained there through 11 October when she got underway to off-load ammunition at Earle, N.J., prior to a period of restricted availability at the Boston Naval Shipyard beginning on 15 October. The work ended on 14 December and after reloading ammunition at Earle, Wasp returned to Quonset Point on 19 December to finish out the year 1970.
1971–1972 [ edit | edit source ]
On 14 January 1971, Wasp departed Quonset Point, R.I., with Commander, ASWGRU 2, CVSG-54 and Detachment 18 from Fleet Training Group, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, embarked. After refresher training at Bermuda, she stopped briefly at Rota, Spain, then proceeded to the Mediterranean for participation in the "National Week VIII" exercises with several destroyers for the investigation of known Soviet submarine operating areas. On 12 February, Secretary of the Navy John Chafee, accompanied by Commander, 6th Fleet, Vice Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., visited the carrier.
Was detached early from the "National Week" exercise on 15 February to support John F. Kennedy as she steamed toward Gibraltar. Soviet ships trailed Wasp and John F. Kennedy until they entered the Strait of Sicily when the Soviets departed to the east. After a brief stop at Barcelona, Spain, Wasp began her homeward journey on 24 February and arrived at Quonset Point on 3 March.
After spending March and April in port, Wasp got underway on 27 April and conducted a nuclear technical proficiency inspection and prepared for the forthcoming "Exotic Dancer" exercise which commenced on 3 May. Having successfully completed the week-long exercise, Wasp was heading home on 8 May when an American Broadcasting Company television team embarked and filmed a short news report on carrier antisubmarine warfare operations.
On 15 May, the veteran conducted a dependents' day cruise, and one month later, participated in Exercise "Rough Ride" at Great Sound, Bermuda, which took her to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Wasp returned to Quonset Point on 2 July 1971 and spent the next two months in preparation and execution of Exercise "Squeeze Play IX" in the Bermuda operating area. In August, the ship conducted exercises with an east coast naval reserve air group while proceeding to Mayport, Florida She returned to her home port on 26 August and spent the next month there. On 23 September, Wasp got underway for Exercise "Lantcortex 1-72" which terminated on 6 October. For the remainder of the month, the carrier joined in a crossdeck operation which took her to Bermuda, Mayport, and Norfolk. She arrived back at Quonset Point on 4 November.
Four days later, the carrier set her course for the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. where she was in drydock until 22 November. She then returned to Quonset Point and remained in her home port for the remainder of the year preparing for decommissioning.
On 1 March 1972, it was announced that Wasp would be decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Decommissioning ceremonies were held on 1 July 1972. The ship was sold on 21 May 1973 to the Union Minerals and Alloys Corp., of New York City, and subsequently scrapped.
USS Wasp6 - History
The crash occurred because of confusion on the flight deck and slipped communications all along the line. Most will remember that 1960's was the time of the missile build-up in Cuba. WASP and our Air Group played on the first team in the game against the Russian ships. That night in May we set up an exercise to show our intelligence people that we could operate in the dark and in bad weather. We were to practice CCAs carrier controlled approaches by radar. Our plane, #00**, was first' up and we were told to make an approach and wave off 14 mile astern. Don was in the left seat to gain CCA practice. We launched at dusk.
**Fate at work. #00 is the Air Group Commander's plane. He should have been flying but he was called to observe these exercises. I was Scheduling Officer and couldn't get anyone else to take the flight on such short notice, so I took it. That put us first in the pattens to land.
Later, on deck, the helicopter launch takes place but one helo goes down and returns. The replacement stand-by helo fires up. Don and I begin our CCA approach. In another part of Air Operations, the pressure builds to get the stand-by helo airborne. Questions fly about the status of the deck. 'Green deck for helos' shot back in response several times, eventually gets shortened to simply 'green deck.'
The controller handling our approach overhears 'green deck' and relays to us the news every young pilot wants to hear "You have a green deck, cleared for touch and go." I slap Don on the shoulder. "You take the touch and go, I'll take the final." It's now after 2000 and dark. Don grins and settles in to chalk up a night landing. Life is good.
Most shipmates know the deck is not lighted at night except for the small row of dustpan lights down the centerline. The pilots' attention is on the parabolic landing mirror that displays the plane's position on the glide slope, a sort of visual Landing Signal Officer. Don is holding glide path and the S2F approaches the fantail. No LSOs are on duty, but a young sailor at the LSO station sees what's about to happen. He takes the initiative and hits the wave-off button. Don and I are startled and both throw full power to the big engines.
But we're already on the deck and already plowing and grinding a path through all the recovered helicopters. We start to flip forward, but just about amidships we hit the tractor towing the TF- COD plane. The grinding stops. It's dark and it's very quiet. I smell fuel and then taste it. lean hear the wind and Don making small motions. "You OK?" I ask. "Yeah," he says, "but I think we're on fire. My legs are burning." I tell him I don't think so, because I can begin to make out outlines and I don't see any flickering. We talk some more and it occurs to me that while we are having this conversation no one has come near the plane. I reach to take off my helmet, fail, and tell Don that I know my left arm is broken. I reach around with my right arm, loosen the clasp, pull off the helmet and lob it out onto the deck. I hear it 'whock whock whock' on the wooden deck and then a voice. "Jesus! There's somebody alive in there!" A very big sailor produces a very big knife and begins to cut me out.
I can only repeat what I was told about the events that happened next. The crew quickly recognized the threat from the nearly full load of ruptured aviation fuel that was by now streaming in the deck gutters and down the side of the ship. All that training paid off as hoses unraveled, hatches locked shut and the crew went to work to restore the ship for its mission. I'm sure many shipmates have stories about what they did in the next two hours. With one spark, the Wasp would have gone up, engulfed in flames.
I was taken below and attended to. My skipper came down to see me. He told me that a call had gone out for blood donors and that the line of volunteers snaked all around the hangar deck. A decision was made that I had to be flown ashore for treatment. The wreckage and fuel was going to make any launch tough, and this would have to be a night deck launch off the short leg of the angle. My squadron mate Jesse Markham volunteered to fly. The TF COD was down so work was needed to tear out a back seat in an S2F to make room for the stretcher. I was told that a large contingent of the crew lined up in a barrage of fire hoses and played water across the deck so that risk of fire would be minimized.
We launched. Our Flight Surgeon, Dr. Sullivan had the great job of kneeling over me during the flight and making sure the transfusions kept flowing. May thunderstorms formed and the bumpy ride made his job even harder. We landed at Norfolk and a waiting ambulance drove me to the Portsmouth Hospital. The hospital was brand new and the driver had a problem finding the entrance. I teased him about it to put him at ease. I was rolled down a naked hallway, passed under a big white light and went unconscious for three weeks.
I may have spellings wrong, but the Wasp's CO was Captain Konstantine Karabaris, Commander Joe Cady led the Air Group, and Commander Josh Sherman commanded squadron VS 31.
I have lots of funny stories about my hospital stay, and insufficient words to describe how special was my treatment at Portsmouth and then Philadelphia, but that's another tale.
When I recall the whole incident, I really don't remember any pain or regret or sadness. What I always feel is humble and that a whole ship and air group of the U.S. Navy went to so much trouble and took such risks just for me. It would have been a lot safer for everyone to decide against launching a plane from a fuel-soaked angled deck, but that's not how the Wasp chose to play it.
Hard as it may be to believe, the accident is not the first thing I think of when I think of the Wasp. What I think of first is a February night in 1959, in port in Boston. An airline flight crew came aboard hoping for a tour. It was time for the evening meal and I asked them to join us. One member of the crew was a beautiful redhead. Commander Frank Greatchus (sp) the ship's Engineering Officer sitting across from us, strongly urged me to look twice. I did. Her name was Odessa and we have been married for 38 years this past August.
While I"m not the only shipmate to have an accident aboard, I may be the only one who met his wife on the Wasp.
The query in the WASPIRIT newsletter shocked me. I was deeply touched that shipmates not only remembered but also cared enough, after all these years, to find out what happened to me.
Well, I'm fine! My co-pilot, Don Rogers, broke both his legs and he is doing well. I did sustain some damage - all kinds of broken bones and an amputation of my left leg - but my health is perfect. I've never missed a day's work and I fly fish in some rivers that would knock down a horse. I have a wonderful wife and three fascinating, grown children."
LTjg Carl D "Pete" PETERSON
"Gordy, Thanks for the email and the opportunity to comment on the crash.
Pete suffered much greater injuries than I did. I had both legs broken (left femur and right tibia/fibia) but with the aid of some most helpful flight surgeons, I was back flying within six months and never lost any flight pay.
After regaining full flight status in 1962, I went on to a typical career, two VP squadrons (18 and 26), a couple of staffs, training command instructor, and XO of NAF Misawa, Japan, retiring after 23 years as a CDR.
CDR Donald "Don" ROGERS
Rudy (Sully) Sullivan Comments: (4/24/11):
Just a brief note to comment on the STOOF crash aboard Wasp. I was an AMS2 at the time attached to VS-31. I remember that tragic night very well. Was truly an all hands effort. I was one of the maintenance crew assigned to remove seats and equipment necessary to launch the plane with Lt Peterson off the angle. Remember off-loading helos at Norfolk for a long time.