USS PONCE
AFSBI 15
  
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The Ponce (LPD 15) is the 12th and last ship in the Austin-class of amphibious transport docks. The contract to build her was awarded on May 17, 1965, and the keel was laid down on October 31, 1966; Christened and launched on May 20, 1970. She was commissioned on July 10, 1971.

December 15, 1989 USS Ponce pulled into Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., for a four-week upkeep.

From January 8-10, 1990, the Ponce was underway for ammo onload at NWS Yorktown, Va. Returned to Naval Station Norfolk on Jan. 12.

January 12, Capt. Stanley W. Bryant relieved Capt. Alan B. Moser as the 13th CO of USS Ponce.

From January 24 through Feb. 13, LPD 15 was underway for Blue/Green workups in the Puerto Rican Op. Area and SOCEX in Onslow Bay.

March 7, USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled Mediterranean deployment as part of the USS Saipan (LHA 2) Marine Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) 2-90.

March 26, The amphibious transport dock pulled into Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a six-day port call. Port visit to Barcelona, Spain, from April 9-17; Anchored off Cannes, France, from April 20-24.

April 28, The Ponce pulled into Naples, Italy, for a four-day port call in preparation for NATO exercise Dragon Hammer '90. Anchored off St. Raphael, France, on May 16 to offload element from the 22nd MEU for training at Camp de Conjuers; Inport Toulon, France, from May 17-28 for Intermediate Maintenance Availability (IMAV).

June 5, USS Ponce arrived off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia, for possible evacuation of civilians from the war-torn country. Supported Operation Sharp Edge from Aug. 5-19, transporting more than 1,600 civilians to the safe ports in Sierra Leone.

August 30, The Ponce pulled into Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, P.R., for a three-day port call to conduct agricultural washdowns off all embarked equipment.

September 7, USS Ponce arrived in NAB Little Creek for restricted availability, completing the six-month deployment.

December 12, The amphibious transport dock returned to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk after a two-day sea trials.

From January 14-18, 1991, the Ponce was underway for local operations and Lynnhaven Anchorage. Underway for Combat Systems Assessment (CSA) inspection and scientist-at-sea support from Jan. 30-31; Underway for routine training in the Virginia Capes OPAREA from Feb. 12-15; Underway for Type Commanders Amphibious Training (TCAT) in Onslow Bay from March 12-22; Underway for routine training from April 2-3; Underway for ammo onload at Golf anchorage from April 16-17.

From April 19 through May 11, LPD 15 was underway for Blue/Green workups in the Puerto Rican Op. Area and SOCEX.

June 20, USS Ponce departed Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled deployment as part of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) Marine Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) 2-91.

From June 21-23, the Ponce onloaded elements from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in Morehead City, N.C. Brief stop to refuel in Rota, Spain, from July 4-5; conducted medevac from USNS Cape Hudson on July 6 and transfered the injured man to Sigonella, Sicily; Anchored off the coast of Iskendren, Turkey, on July 10 for MARG turnover.

July 18, USS Ponce pulled into Haifa, Israel, for a 20-day upkeep and in support of exercise Noble Shierly.

July 29, Capt. Charles P. Vion relieved Capt. Stanley W. Bryant as commanding officer of LPD 15.

From August 13-18, the Ponce was anchored off Bizerte, Tunisia, for PHIBLEX. Anchored off Benidorm, Spain, from Aug. 21-26; Anchored off Six-Fours-les-Plages, France, from Sept. 4-7; Offloaded Marines while anchored off St. Raphael on Sept. 9.

September 10, USS Ponce moored outboard the USS Shenandoah (AD 44) in Marseille, France, for a 16-day tender availability.

October 1, The amphibious transport dock anchored off the coast of Antalya, Turkey, for the in-port phase of exercise Display Determination '91, from Oct. 2-14; Inport Thessaloniki, Greece, from Oct. 16-21; Participated in exericse Hammerlock from Oct. 24-30.

October 31, The Ponce pulled into Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for a week-long port visit. Inport Almeria, Spain, from Nov. 8-18 for exercise Betacom; Upkeep in Cartagena, Spain, from Nov. 20- Dec. 2.

December 3, LPD 15 arrived in Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a three-day port call to conduct agricultural washdowns. Offload in Morehead City from Dec. 18-19.

December 20, USS Ponce returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a six-month deployment.

From February 4-7, 1992, the Ponce was underway for ammo offload at NWS Yorktown.

February 12, USS Ponce entered the Metro Machine shipyard in Norfolk, Va., for a four-month Drydocking Planned Maintenance Availability (DPMA). In dry-dock from Feb. 25 through April 14; Underway for sea trials and CORTRAMID cruise from June 8-12; Underway for routine training from June 22-26; Underway in support of JSOC operations from July 27-31; Underway for local operations from Aug. 5-14; Underway for OPPE from Aug. 24-26.

August 29, The Ponce departed homeport in support of Hurricane Andrew relief operations off South Florida.

From Aug. 31 through Sept. 16, LPD 15 was moored at Dodge Island Terminal in Port of Miami. Returned home on Sept. 18.

October 1, USS Ponce, with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 34 Det. 2 and Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 8 Det. 5, departed Naval Station Norfolk for counter-drug operations in the Caribbean.

October 5, The amphibious transport dock pulled into Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, for a two-day port call to refuel. Port visit to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from Oct. 10-13 in conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas; Inport Roosevelt Roads from Oct. 16-17; Returned home on Nov. 6.

March 5, 1993 Capt. Daniel T. Sherrange relieved Capt. Charles P. Vion as the 15th CO of USS Ponce.

March 17, USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled six-month Mediterranean deployment with the USS Saipan ARG and 26th MEU.

March 1, 1994 The Ponce departed Metro Machine shipyard for sea trials after a four-month Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA).

In May, LPD 15 was underway for Refresher Training (REFTRA) at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Port visit to Kingston, Jamaica.

From July 28 through Aug. 7, the Ponce was underway for TCAT. Underway for CSA from Sept. 1-6; Underway for FLEETEX from Sept. 14-24.

October 21, USS Ponce departed homeport for a scheduled Mediterranean deployment as part of the USS Nassau (LHA 4) ARG. Inport Rota, Spain, from Nov. 3-7.

November 8, The amphibious transport dock pulled into Lisbon, Portugal, for a three-day port visit. Upkeep in Toulon, France, from Nov. 15-25.

December 13, USS Ponce arrived in Malaga, Spain, for a five-day port call after participating in a week-long exercise African Eagle. Port visit to Valencia from Dec. 23-26.

From Dec. 30 through Jan. 11, 1995, USS Ponce was underway in the Adriatic Sea in support of Operations Deny Flight and Provide Promise.

From January 15-21, the Ponce participated in Spanish PHIBLEX off Sierra de Retin. Inport Durres, Albania, from Jan. 26-31 for SAREX; While on liberty in Durres, two Marines were shop by an Albanian civilian on Jan. 27. One of them was critically injured and was later transfered to U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

February 6, LPD 15 pulled into Naples, Italy, for a four-day port call. Participated in Italian PHIBLEX off Capo Teulada, Sardinia, from Feb. 11-15.

February 14, Capt. Leon F. Mahoney relieved Capt. Daniel T. Sherrange as CO of the Ponce during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship while anchored of Capo Teulada.

February 21, USS Ponce arrived in Odessa, Ukraine, for a six-day port visit. Anchored off Rhodes, Greece, from March 3-5.

March 7, The amphibious transport dock moored outboard the USS Shenandoah in Haifa, Israel, for a 16-day upkeep. Inport Rota, spain, from March 29- April 3.

April 15, USS Ponce returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a six-month deployment.

From May 16-19, the Ponce was underway in support of JSO Task Force flight deck operations. Underway for routine training from May 30- June 1, June 5-8 and 12-14th; Underway in support of USS America (CV 66) BG's JTFEX from July 6-21.

July 26, LPD 15 arrived in Halifax, N.S., Canada, for a five-day port call. Port visit to Boston, Mass., from Aug. 1-5; Ammo offload at NWS Yorktown from Aug. 7-11.

August 15, USS Ponce emergency sortied from Naval Station Norfolk to avoid the Hurricane Felix.

August 21, The Ponce entered the Metro Machine shipyard for a three-month Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA). Underway for sea trials from Nov. 28-29.

January 10, 1996 USS Ponce departed homeport for amphibious operations.

February 5, The amphibious transport dock moored at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Va., to onload ammunition. Underway for TSTA I on Feb. 12 and 20th; Underway for CJTFEX 95-3 on May 3; Underway for CORTRAMID Cruise on June 11; Port visit to Halifax, Canada, from July 1-5.

August 1, USS Ponce departed Norfolk in support of Operation Assured Response to provide security and other assistance to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. Returned home on Aug. 23; Inport NWS Yorktown on Oct. 28.

December 5, Cmdr. William V. Scardina, Jr., relieved Capt. Leon F. Mahoney as the 17th CO of LPD 15.

December 13, USS Ponce departed homeport for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON)/Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training (PMINT), with the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group and 22nd MEU.

From January 13-17, 1997, the Ponce was underway in the Virginia Capes Op. Area. Underway for COMPTUEX Phase II from Feb. 4-13; Underway for JTFEX from March 6-24.

April 29, USS Ponce departed Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled deployment with the USS Kearsarge ARG. Onload in Morehead City, N.C., on April 30.

May 12, The amphibious transport dock arrived in Naval Station Rota for a two-day port call to refuel. Anchored off Sierra de Retin from May 16-19 for exercise Linked Seas.

May 20, USS Ponce arrived in Malaga, Spain, for a six-day port visit. Inport Almeria, Spain, from May 26- June 5 in support of exercise Betacom with the Spanish Foreign Legion; Supported operation Silver Wake off Albania from June 9-12; Anchored in Volos Bay, Greece, from June 14-17 in support of exercise Alexander the Great; Anchored off Skiros Island from June 18-20.

June 23, The Ponce anchored off Varna, Bulgaria, for a two-day in-port phase of exercise Cooperative Partner. Anchored off Varna for backload from July 3-5; Departed Black Sea on July 7.

July 31, LPD 15 anchored off the coast of Corfu, Greece, for a 10-day liberty after participating in exercise Atlas Hinge, off the coast of Tunisia, from July 21-26.

August 14, USS Ponce pulled into Constanta, Romania, to participate in exercise Rescue Eagle. Underway to pump-and-dump trash and waste on Aug. 18; Inport Constanta from Aug. 19-22; Anchored off Donslov, Ukraine, from Aug. 23-27 for the start of exercise Sea Breeze; Anchored off Pivdenny from Aug. 27-31; Anchored off Odessa from Aug. 31- Sept. 1; Port visit to Rhodes, Greece, from Sept. 4-10; Inport Catania, Italy, from Sept. 15-18 after supporting Operation Humidor; Brief stop in Augusta Bay, Sicily, on Sept. 19; Participated in exercise Dynamic Mix in Kyparissia Bay and Preveza, Greece, from Sept. 23 through Oct. 6.

October 11, The Ponce moored at Pier 1 in Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a five-day port call to conduct agricultural washdowns. Inport Morehead City from Oct. 27-28.

October 29, USS Ponce returned to Norfolk after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet AoR.

From December 2-6, LPD 15 was underway for ammo offload at Naval Weapons Station Earle, New Jersey. Underway for TCAT in Onslow Bay from Dec. 9-15.

January 7, 1998 USS Ponce entered the Metro Machine shipyard for a four-month Drydocking Planned Maintenance Availability (DPMA). In dry-dock from Jan. 30- April 3; Underway for sea trials from May 12-13.

June 5, Capt. Christopher B. Chase relieved Cmdr. William V. Scardina, Jr., as CO of the Ponce.

From July 8-10, the amphibous transport dock was underway Engineering portion of TSTA I. Underway for TSTA II from July 21- Aug. 7.

August 25, USS Ponce emergency sortied from Naval Station Norfolk to avoid the Hurricane Bonnie. Returned on Aug. 29; Underway for routine training from Aug. 30- Sept. 4; Underway for TSTA II from Sept. 11-25; Ammo onload at NWS Yorktown from Oct. 5-9; Underway for FEP from Oct. 13-16; Underway for PMINT from Dec. 4-11.

;From January 25 through Feb. 3, 1999, the Ponce was underway for MEUEX.

From February 11 through March 4, LPD 15 was underway for JTFEX in the Puerto Rican Op. Area and SOCEX in the Cherry Point OPAREA; Inport Naval Station Roosevelt Roads from Feb. 20-22; Underway for a Friends and Family Day Cruise on April 1.

April 14, USS Ponce departed homeport for a surge Mediterranean deployment, with the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th MEU. Anchored off Morehead City, N.C., for onload on April 15.

April 28, The amphibious transport dock arrived in Adriatic Sea in support of Operations Noble Anvil/Shining Hope/Allied Force. Port visit to Taranto, Italy, from May 17-21; Departed Adriatic on June 4; Supported Operation Joint Guardian in the Aegean Sea from June 6-20; Offloaded Marines at Liktokhoron Beach near Thessaloniki, Greece, from June 10-11 .

June 24, USS Ponce pulled into Haifa, Israel, for a 12-day upkeep. Anchored off the coast of Thessaloniki from July 15-17 for backload.

July 27, The Ponce pulled into Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a 17-day upkeep and agricultural washdowns. Port visit to Malaga, Spain, from Aug. 14-19.

August 23, LPD 15 arrived in vicinity of Golcuk, Turkey, in support of Operation Avid Response. Backloaded Marines from Turkey in Dogan Bay on Sept. 9; Arrived in Saros Bay on Sept. 12 for a trilateral exercise Northern Aproaches Phase II.

September 23, The Ponce arrive again in Rota, Spain, for an eight-day port call to conduct agricultural washdowns. Inport Morehead City for offload and to emabrk "Tigers" from Oct. 12-13.

October 14, USS Ponce returned to Norfolk after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

From November 16-19, the Ponce was underway for Special Warfare support operations. Underway for ammo offload at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Va., from Dec. 6-10.

January 14, 2000 Cmdr. Mark J. Murphy relieved Capt. Christopher B. Chase as commanding officer of the USS Ponce.

In Mid-January, the amphibious transport dock entered the Metro Machine Shipyard in Norfolk, Va., for a three-month Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA).

October 13, Cmdr. Thomas J. Chassee relieved Cmdr. Mark J. Murphy as the 20th CO of LPD 15.

January 31, 2001 The Ponce departed St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, after a four-day port visit. The amphibious transport dock is ciurrently conducting Group Sail as part of the Kearsarge ARG.

March 28, LPD 15 departed homeport for a Friends and Family Day Cruise.

April 25, USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment with the USS Kearsarge ARG and 26th MEU.

May 12, The Ponce arrived in Tangier, Morocco, for a three-day port call before participating in Exercise Mediterranean Shark.

May 28, The amphibious transport dock departed Gaeta, Italy, after a three-day port visit.

June 1, USS Ponce pulled into Dubrovnik, Croatia, for a scheduled port visit.

June 10, LPD 15 anchored off the coast of Poti, Georgia, for exercise Cooperative Partner.

July 4, The Ponce departed Brindisi, Italy, after a two-day port call.

July 16, USS Ponce arrived in Marmaris, Turkey, for a three-day port visit.

July 26, The amphibious transport dock departed Valetta, Malta, after a three-day port call.

August 2, The Ponce pulled into Rijeka, Croatia, for Intermediate Maintenance Availability with the USS Emory S. Land (AS 39).

August 20, LPD 15 departed Palma de Mallorca, Spain, after a three-day port call.

August 22, USS Ponce arrived in Tarragona, Spain, for a four-day port visit.

September 3, USS Ponce arrived in Limassol, Cyprus, for a three-day port visit. The ship departed Catania, Italy, Aug. 30 after a brief port call.

September 22, The amphibious transport dock pulled into Rota, Spain, for a routine port call.

October 15, USS Ponce returned to homeport after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

June 14, 2002 Cmdr. Antony J. Pachuta relieved Cmdr. Thomas J. Chassee as CO of the Ponce.

January 12, 2003 USS Ponce departed Naval Station Norfolk, with the Amphibious Task Force (ATF) East, for possible service in the Central Command AoR in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

June 25, USS Ponce returned to homeport after five-and-a-half month combat deployment in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

February 4, 2004 Cmdr. William H. Jacob relieved Cmdr. Antony J. Pachuta as CO of the Ponce.

From June 1-14, USS Ponce participated in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 04-2 as Minewarfare Commander.

From Nov. 30- Dec. 3, the Ponce was underway for Special Warfare support operations.

March 25, 2005 USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment, as part of the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, in support of the global war on terrorism. Upkeep in Augusta Bay, Sicily, from April 8-14; Transited Suez Canal on April 22.

August 30, The amphibious transport dock transited the Suez Canal northbound after concluding operations in the 5th Fleet AoR.

September 27, USS Ponce returned to Norfolk Naval Station after a six-month underway period. Port visit to Valletta, Malta, in September.

October 14, Cmdr. William A. Brown relieved Cmdr. William H. Jacob as commanding officer of USS Ponce.

April 13, 2007 Cmdr. Richard A. Frey relieved Cmdr. William A. Brown as CO of the Ponce.

April 30, LPD 15 pulled into Port Everglades, Florida, for a Fleet Week South 2007.

May 21, The Ponce is currently underway for a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group and the 22nd MEU.

July 30, USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled Middle East deployment.

January 1, 2008 The amphibious transport dock transited the Suez Canal after supporting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Central Command Area of Responsibility.

January 4, The Ponce pulled into Valletta, Malta, for a four-day port visit.

January 27, USS Ponce returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a six-month deployment. After the first port call to Ash Shuayba, Kuwait, the ship supported Operation Sea Dragon and her visit, board, search and seizure team conducted approaches on more than 100 fishing and cargo dhows in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf. She also visited Manama, Bahrain; Jebel Ali, U.A.E.; Valletta, Malta; and Rota, Spain.

September 14, LPD 15 departed homeport for a station in the Gulf of Mexico to provide assistance to civilian authorities in the wake of Hurricane Ike. The storm stuck the Texas Gulf Coast Sept. 13 as a major hurricane, causing major flooding and leaving millions without power.

October 28, The Ponce is currently underway for a Group Sail operation as part of the USS Bataan (LHD 5) ESG.

November 7, Cmdr. Timothy A. Crone relieved Cmdr. Richard A. Frey as the 25th CO of USS Ponce.

May 13, 2009 USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 22nd MEU.

June 12, The amphibious transport dock recently arrived in Cyprus after a port visit to Thessaloniki, Greece.

June 22, USS Ponce and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) transited the Suez Canal to conduct a bilateral training exercise Infinite Response '09 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

November 16, LPD 15 recently pulled to Santorini, Greece, for a scheduled port visit.

December 8, USS Ponce returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a seven-month underway period.

July 8, 2010 The Ponce is currently off the East Coast participating in a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), as part of USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) ARG.

August 27, USS Ponce departed Norfolk for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet AoR.

November 11, The amphibious transport dock departed Victoria, Seychelles, after a goodwill port call.

March 2, 2011 USS Ponce transited the Suez Canal to provide the capability for evacuation or humanitarian aid as response to the unrest in Libya.

March 4, LPD 15 pulled into Souda Bay, Greece, for a brief port call.

April 23, Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, relieved USS Ponce CO, Cmdr. Etta C. Jones, "due to demonstrated poor leadership, and failure to appropriately investigate, report, and hold accountable Sailors found involved in hazing incidents." Additionally, she failed to properly handle a loaded weapon during a security alert which endangered some of her crew. The XO Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Boenisch, was also fired "due to his failure to provide support to the command and commanding officer." Capt. John B. Skillman, deputy commander of Amphibious Squadron 4, assumed temporary command of the Ponce. The amphibious transport dock arrived today at Naval Base Rota, Spain, for a routine port call.

May 16, USS Ponce returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a nearly nine-month deployment. This is the ship's last deployment before being decommissioned next year.

June 24, Cmdr. Stephen C. Hayes relieved Capt. John B. Skillman as CO of the Ponce.

July 1, The Ponce arrived in Bristol, Rhode Island, to participate in the Fourth of July celebration.

August 25, LPD 15 emergency sortied from Naval Station Norfolk to avoid the approaching Hurricane Irene.

October 11, USS Ponce began a two-month of training with the Marine Corps and is scheduled to visit Port Canaveral, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the ship's namesake city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, before returning to Norfolk to begin the long decommissioning process.

November 1, USS Ponce moored at Cruise Terminal 4 for a week-long visit to Port Canaveral, Florida. The ship departed homeport on Oct. 25.

November 10, The amphibious transport dock moored at the Monsanto Marine Terminal for a scheduled port visit to Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands.

November 13, The Ponce pulled into Ponce, Puerto Rico, for a three-day port call.

December 2, USS Ponce returned to homeport for the last time after a four-day underway period for deck landing qualifications with Marines from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Air-Ground Task Force, II MEF. The ship was led by 28 commanding officers, crewed by more than 18,400 sailors, and has transported more than 24,500 marines. It was involved in 31 major operations.

February 1, 2012 U.S. Navy recently cancelled the plans to decommission USS Ponce and will transfer the 40 year old ship to Military Sealift Command (MSC) to serve as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). Instead of having a USNS designation and being commanded by a civilian master, the Ponce will operate as a commissioned ship with a U.S. Navy captain in charge of the hybrid crew. The ship will be redesignated as AFSB(I) 15. The "I" stands for interim.

April 6, USS Ponce entered the MHI Ship Repair & Services in Norfolk, Va., in February to conduct deferred maintenance and modifications for the CIVMAR crew to support the ship's new mission. Completion is scheduled for mid-April. Modifications include replacing bridge equipment with modern commercial systems for the CIVMARs who will navigate, operate and maintain the ship. In addition, Ponce's main propulsion boilers will be overhauled, main and auxiliary condensers will be cleaned, additional overhauls will be made and maintenance performed on existing ship's equipment and the galley will be upgraded and overhauled.

April 16, Capt. Jon P. Rodgers relieved Cmdr. Stephen C. Hayes as CO of the USS Ponce during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Naval Station Norfolk.

June 1, USS Ponce departed Norfolk to be forward-deployed at Manama, Bahrain, for at least two-year, to support mine counter-measure and coastal patrol ships, and aircraft operations.

June 13, AFSB(I) 15 recently pulled into Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a routine port call. Arrived in Manama on July 6.

September 20, USS Ponce departed Mina Salman Port in Manama for at-sea phase of International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2012 in the Arabian Gulf.

October 29, The Ponce returned to Manama with two fishing boats in tow, after rescued seven Bahraini fishermen from the hailstorm, around 7:00 a.m. local time, 30 nautical miles northeast of Bahrain.

November 10, The afloat forward staging base (interim) is currently underway for interoperability familiarization and integration training in the Arabian Gulf.

May 13, 2013 USS Ponce departed Manama for at-sea phase of International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2013, from May 13-23.

July 23, USS Ponce recently pulled into Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, for a port visit to Dubai.

August 14, The Ponce moored at Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) in Hidd, Bahrain, for a two-day port call after participated in exercise Spartan Kopis, training event that validates the effectiveness of using joint aviation assets in a maritime environment, as well as exercising joint force command and control structure and communications.

September 14, AFSB(I) 15, with embarked Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 Detachment, recently departed Bahrain for a combined U.S./U.K. mine countermeasure exercise (MCMEX) 13-3. Returned on Sept. 2?.

October 28, USS Ponce departed Manama to participate in at-sea phase of biannual commercial shipping exercise Lucky Mariner 14-1, with the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Sirocco (PC 6), HMS Montrose (F236) and U.S. Coast Guard ships.

November 9, The Ponce rescued four Bahraini fishermen, approximately 30 n.m. off the coast of Bahrain, who had been stranded for two days when their small fishing skiff broke down.

December 5, Capt. Dale W. Maxey relieved Capt. Jon P. Rodgers as CO of the USS Ponce during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Manama.

December 8, USS Ponce recently departed Mina Salman Port to participate in a mine countermeasure exercise Spartan Kopis. U.S. Army provided two AH-64D Apache helicopters, assigned to 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, currently deployed with the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB).

From April 28-29, 2014, the Ponce participated in enhanced vessel board, search and seizure (EVBSS) exercise with the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), while underway in the Arabian Gulf.

May 30, USS Ponce departed homeport for a week-long underway. Underway again in late June.

September 25, USS Ponce is currently underway for testing of the Laser Weapon System in the Arabian Gulf. The prototype 30-kilowatt-class laser, mounted facing the bow, was installed in late August and can be fired in several modes, from a dazzling warning flash to a destructive beam capable of shooting down drones or disabling small attack boats.

October 31, AFSB(I) 15 departed Manama to participate in at-sea phase of International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2014 through Nov. 10; Conducted operational demonstration of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) in mid-November.

November 23, Capt. Robert A. Klaszky relieved Capt. Dale W. Maxey as CO of the Ponce during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Mina Salman Port.

November 17, 2015 USS Ponce recently departed homeport to participate in International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2015.

November 2?, Capt. John K. Reilly relieved Capt. Robert A. Klaszky as CO of the Ponce during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Berth 13, Mina Salman Port in Manama.

November 29, USS Ponce moored pierside at Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard (ASRY) facility in Manama for a Selected Restricted Availability (SRA).

From March 13-17, 2016, the Ponce conducted deck landing qualifications with two U.S. Army's CH-47 Chinook and two AH-64E Apache helicopters, assigned to the 1-168th Aviation Regiment and 3-6th Cavalry Regiment, 40th CAB, currently stationed at Camp Buehring in Kuwait, while underway in the northern Arabian Gulf.

March 29, USS Ponce moored at General Cargo Terminal in Port of Doha, Qatar, for a two-day port visit in conjunction with the annual Doha International Maritime and Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX); Moored at Berth 11, Mina Salman Port on April 1.

April 10, The Ponce departed Manama to participate in at-sea phase of International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2016.

From August 14-15, USS Ponce conducted deck landing qualifications with two U.S. Army's CH-47 Chinook, assigned to the 1-111th Aviation Regiment, while underway off Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

September 28, USS Ponce recently departed homeport to conduct training in the Arabian Gulf with Marines from the 22nd MEU, embarked aboard the USS San Antonio (LPD 17); Transited the Strait of Hormuz southbound, en route to Red Sea, on Oct. 2.?

November 12, Capt. Christopher K. Wells relieved Capt. John K. Reilly as the last CO of Ponce, during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship, while underway in the Arabian Gulf.