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USS Cleveland (LPD-7)

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Awarded:25 January 1963
Laid down:30 November 1964
Launched:7 May 1966
Commissioned:21 April 1967
Fate:Active, in commission
Homeport:San Diego, California
General Characteristics
Displacement:9734 tons light, 17326 tons full, 7592 tons dead
Length:173.7 meters (570 feet) overall, 167 meters (548 feet) waterline
Beam:30.4 meters (100 feet) extreme, 25.6 meters (84 feet) waterline
Draft:6.7 meters (22 feet) maximum, 7 meters (23 feet) limit
Speed:21 knots
Complement:164 ship's officers, 1408 ship's enlisted, 840 troops, 90 flag staff
Ship's Boats:two LCPL, one motor whaleboat
Assault Craft:one LCU or one LCAC or two LCM-8 or four LCM-6
Armament:two 25mm Mk38 chain guns, two Phalanx CIWS, eight .50-caliber machineguns
Aircraft:two CH-46 Sea Knights or two CH-53 Sea Stallions[?] or four UH-1 Iroquois ("Hueys") or AH-1 Cobras or two AV-8 Harriers
USS Cleveland (LPD-7), the lead ship of her class of amphibious transport dock, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the capital of Ohio. Her keel was laid down at Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on 7 May 1966, and was commissioned on 21 April 1967 at Norfolk, Virginia.

After commissioning, Cleveland changed homeport to San Diego, California, to become a member of the Pacific Fleet Amphibious Forces. Cleveland has divided her time between operations in the Eastern Pacific and extended deployments to the Western Pacific. Cleveland is normally assigned as part of an Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) and, with her embarked Marines and other forces, has performed a wide variety of missions.

Cleveland first saw action during the Tet Offensive in 1967. After the Vietnam War cease-fire in January 1973, Cleveland joined Task Force 78 in the mine-clearing effort of Haiphong[?] Harbor and Operation End Sweep[?]. Cleveland then began a series of seven Western Pacific deployments between 1974 and 1985.

Assigned duties as Third Fleet flagship from January through November 1988, Cleveland once again demonstrated the flexibility and professionalism that have become her hallmark. Cleveland then briefly shifted focus to environmental protection when she deployed to Prince William Sound, Alaska, in support of oil spill cleanup efforts associated with the Exxon Valdez disaster.

The ship's next two deployments, in 1990 and 1991, were in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In October 1992 and in March of 1993, Cleveland deployed on short notice to Central America in support of law enforcement operations, where she was the first LPD to embark an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. During the March 1993 deployment Cleveland played a key role in what was the largest maritime cocaine seizure to date involving the motor vessel "Sea Chariot." These two deployments included four transits of the Panama Canal and steaming over 20,000 miles.

While deployed to the Western Pacific in 1994, Cleveland participated in United Nations relief efforts in Rwanda and the relocation of the United States Liaison office from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Nairobi, Kenya. Following the relocation efforts, Cleveland was ordered to steam into the North Arabian Gulf to assist in deterring Iraq's massing of troops on the Kuwaiti border as part of Operation Vigilant Warrior[?].

Her next inter-deployment cycle was highlighted by Exercise "RIMPAC '96" off the coast of Hawaii, which included the first ever multilateral exercise involving US and Russian forces in US waters. The trip to Hawaii for the exercise culminated in a parade of ships for the 50th anniversary celebration to commemorate the end of the war in the Pacific. Cleveland returned to the North Arabian Gulf during her deployment in 1996 and 1997, participating in coalition and bilateral exercises and achieving yet another milestone as the first Amphibious Warship to actively participate in Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

In the summer of 1998, Cleveland once again participated in the bi-annual RIMPAC exercise. Cleveland then began her sixteenth major deployment in December 1998, embarking Navy SEALs, elements of the 13th MEU(SOC) -- Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operation Capable) -- and a detachment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). During this deployment Cleveland stood off the Horn of Africa, inserting a military liaison team into Eritrea and remaining ready to conduct a non-combatant evacuation operation. Cleveland then returned to the Arabian Gulf to conduct MIO where she served as flagship for the commander of all MIO forces in the Gulf. During this period, an embarked UAV discovered an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile site that was threatening coalition forces. Aircraft from Enterprise destroyed this missile site while the UAV transmitted live imagery back to Cleveland.

Cleveland was once again called upon to perform outside her normal realm of operations while participating in recovery and salvage efforts of Alaska Airlines[?] Flight 261 in February of 2000, receiving the Coast Guard Commendation Ribbon[?] with Operational Distinguishing Device[?]. Following a Fleet Week visit to San Francisco, California, Cleveland completed her training cycle and deployed for the seventeenth time in March 2001.

In her 35 years of service, Cleveland has received two Combat Action Ribbons[?], the Joint Meritorious Unit Award[?], the Navy Unit Commendation[?], three Meritorious Unit Commendations[?], eight Navy Excellence Ribbons[?], three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals[?], 23 Vietnam Service Medals[?], the Southwest Asia Service Medal[?], the Humanitarian Service Medal[?], three Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citations[?] for Gallantry, and the Coast Guard Unit Commendation Ribbon[?] with Operational Distinguishing Device[?].

See USS Cleveland for other ships of this name.

References The article includes information from Cleveland's Web site, http://www.cleveland.navy.mil/.

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