USS TARAWA LHA 1
More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines departed San Diego February 7, 1998, for a six-month deployment aboard USS Tarawa (LHA 1), USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39) and USS Denver (LPD 9). They departed San Diego five days ahead of schedule as part of a buildup of U.S. forces in the Arabian Gulf. The Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), consisting of more than 2,100 Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), operated in the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. Tarawa conducted special operations certification exercises before leaving on their 10th deployment to the Western Pacific. As the possibility of renewed conflict with Iraq loomed on the horizon, the Tarawa ARG made a dash straight to the Arabian Gulf within 31 days, at a speed averaging 17 knots. Just as the ARG neared the Gulf, the threat passed. However, according to Commander, Amphibious Group 3, the 12,500-mile, high-speed transit set a record and won the respect of senior Navy officials. USS Tarawa ARG and the 11th MEU arrived in the Arabian Gulf March 11, 1998. Tarawa, Denver, and Mount Vernon relieved the USS Guam (LPH 9) ARG to continue the commitment to security and stability in the region. In the early summer of 1998 the Amphibious Ready Group conducted an evacuation operation that rescued 250 people from Eritrea's capital, Asmara. The three-ship returned home August 7 after having spent six months deployed to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.
August 14, 2000 USS Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), along with the 13th MEU, departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled six-month deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Ocean. Led by Capt. A.D. Wall, commander, Amphibious Squadron Five, The three-ship ARG has nearly 2,000 Sailors aboard USS Tarawa, USS Anchorage (LSD 36) and USS Duluth (LPD 6). The transit to the Arabian Gulf was highlighted by a stop at Tarawa, where 13th MEU conducted a ceremony on the same soil Marines fought on in World War II. The unit also conducted a ceremony off the waters of Guadalcanal. From Sept. 14-16, the 13th MEU conducted a humanitarian assistance operation in East Timor, offloading more than 570 tons of material by aircraft and more than 430 tons via seaslift. In October 2000, the world was shocked by the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, in the port of Aden, Yemen. The marines were immediately dispatched to provide security for the battered destroyer and its crew, and assist in Operation Determined Response, the recovery of USS Cole. ARG marked its transit home with stops in Seychelles, Thailand, Hong Kong and Iwo Jima.
February 13, 2001 USS Tarawa returned home after a six-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf.
July 2002, The amphibious assault ship is currently participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2002, multinational amphibious training exercise at the Hawaii coasts.
October 21-31, LHA 1 participated in a COMPUTEX off the coast of southern California. This is a major step forward in joint operations between the Tarawa ARG and 15th MEU durirg preparations for an upcoming deployment.
January 6, 2003 USS Tarawa departed San Diego, along with USS Rushmore LSD 47 and USS Duluth LPD 6, for a scheduled six-month deployment.
July 13, USS Tarawa ARG returned to homeport after supporting U.S. and coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
June 28, 2004 The amphibious assault ship pulled to Naval Station Pearl Harbor to take part in RIMPAC 2004 in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands.
October 20, The crew of the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa had its first look at FORCEnet, the next-generation naval warfighting process, during exercise Trident Warrior 04, Oct. 4-15. The ships of the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group participated in Trident Warrior as they headed north to participate in Fleet Week celebrations in San Francisco. The participating units included Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 1, the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Tarawa, USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), USS Cleveland (LPD 7), USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53).
October 29, Rear Adm. Michael A. LeFever relieved Rear Adm. Robert T. Conway Jr. as Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group One during a ceremony, held aboard the USS Tarawa, at the San Diego Naval Station.
April 22, 2005 USS Tarawa kicked off a pre-deployment training exercise for Expeditionary Strike Group ESG 1, April 14 off the coast of southern California.
May 16, The amphibious assault ship is currently conducting COMPTUEX in the Pacific Ocean.
May 26, USS Tarawa and ESG 1, completed their Composite Training Unit Exercise off the coast of southern California. The JTFEX is the next phase of training to be completed before the strike group deploys later this summer.
June 2, During the change-of-command ceremony held in the hanger bay Capt. Peter Murphy relieved Capt. John W. Riley as commanding officer of USS Tarawa.
June 20, LHA 1 rerurned to San Diego after completing JTFEX off the coast of southern California.
July 16, USS Tarawa departed San Diego to begin a scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
July 22, The amphibious assault ship arrived in Pearl Harbor for a four-day port visit.
July 29, Expeditionary Strike Group ESG 1 conducted a successful anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) July 25-26 off the coast of Hawaii. The strike group's flagship, USS Tarawa; the amphibious dock landing ship USS Cleveland; guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin; guided-missile frigate USS Ingraham and fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe teamed up with JMSDF destroyers Myoko (DDG 175), Makinami (DD 112) and Akebono (DD 108). The Japanese destroyers, who are on a three-month deployment taking them from homeports in Japan to San Diego and back, also were pleased with the results of the exercise, which they called Exercise Pacific Rainbow.
August 11, More than 150 Sailors and Marines from ESG 1 teamed with medical personnel from the Armed Forces of the Phillipines (AFP) and civilian relief organizations in a humanitarian assistance operation in the southern island of Tawi Tawi August 9-10. The two-day joint operation in the small towns of Batu Batu and Sanga Sanga provided nearly 3,000 indigent residents with medical and dental care, and furnished local schools with new desks, tables and bookshelves.
August 15, USS Tarawa ESG pulled to Darwin, Australia, for a scheduled port call.
August 30, LHA 1 entered the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's area of operations and relieved USS Kearsarge and the 26th MEU, on duty on station, in the Persian gulf.
September 10, USS Tarawa entered the Mediterranean Sea to participate in exercise "Bright Star", a multinational exercise held every two years in Egypt. Bright Star is the largest and most significant coalition military exercise conducted by U.S. Central Command, from September 11-28, and includes integrated training on amphibious landing operations, noncombatant evacuation operations, naval gunnery and maritime security operations. The passage through the Suez was an historic event for the four ships, which are all West Coast-homeported ships. Nearly 22 years to the day that the Tarawa became the first West Coast-homeported ship to go through the canal (Sept. 10, 1983), “Big T” punctuated her 13th western Pacific deployment with her second Suez transit.
October 10, USS Tarawa entered the Persian Gulf after departing coast off Egypt in the Mediterannean Sea.
October 13, LHA 1, LPD 7 and FFG 61 are heading toward the Pakistani coast to be in a better position to provide additional support to humanitarian relief missions after the catastrophic earthquake. The magnitude 7.6 quake, on Oct. 8, was the most powerful to hit the country in its 58-year history. It has taken an estimated 40,000 lives. The United Nations estimates it displaced another 2.5 million people.
December 13, The amphibious assault ship is currently in the Indian Ocean conducting maritime security operations.
January 6, 2006 LHA 1 pulled to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, for a scheduled port visit.
January 12, USS Tarawa entered the 7th Fleet area of operations en route to their homeport of San Diego after completing their assigned mission in the 5th Fleet region. ESG-1 passed the baton to ESG-8, an East coast-based strike group centered aboard USS Nassau (LHA 4).
January 21, LHA 1 departed Singapore after a two-day port call.
January 28, USS Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group One departed Hong Kong after a four-day port visit. ESG pulled to Pearl Harbor Feb. 10 for a brief port call.
February 20, LHA 1 returned to San Diego after a seven-month deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
March 31, The amphibious assault ship is currently off the coast of southern California preparing for and assessment by the Afloat Training Group (ATG) on its damage control abilities after a seven month deployment to the western Pacific.
April 13, USS Tarawa and helicopters, assigned to the "Blackjacks" of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two One (HSC-21), conducted an ammunition transfer April 11-13, with the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
July 21, The Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group concept took another step in its evolution when the Navy disestablished ESG 1 in a ceremony aboard its former flagship, LHA 1, at Naval Base San Diego. In its last deployment, the 5,000 Sailors and Marines of ESG 1, commanded by Rear Adm. Michael A. LeFever, validated the adaptive flag and general officer-led ESG command and control structure, completing missions across the spectrum of combat and humanitarian operations. As such, the Navy will now maintain a permanent ESG staff in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to embark amphibious ready groups (ARGs) who enter the theatre in the future.
September 28, Capt. Donald R. Shunkwiler relieved Capt. Peter Murphy as commanding officer off USS Tarawa. The amphibious assault ship is currently underway conducting training off the coast of southern California.
November 28, LHA 1 is currently of the West Coast conducting routine trainings.
February 12, 2007 Rear Adm. Mark Balmert, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5, awarded USS Tarawa the Golden Anchor Award abord the ship.
March 26, The amphibious assault ship, along with the Mexican Navy ship Usumacinta (A-412), conducted passing exercise (PASSEX) training off the coast of Mazatlan, Mexico.
April 20, USS Tarawa is currently conducting well deck operations off the coast of southern California.
July 5, After successfully completing over 10 drills during a three-day period, LHA 1 passed the Unit Level Training Readiness Assessment Sustainment (ULTRA-S) inspection June 28.
September 11, The amphibious ship is currently conducting a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPUTEX) with the 11th MEU, of the western coast.
November 5, USS Tarawa departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations.
December 3, USS Tarawa arrived off the coast of Bangladesh, relieving USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in support of ongoing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations.
December 19, LHA 1 departed Singapore after a seven-day port visit.
April 1, 2008 USS Tarawa, commanded by Capt. Brian Luther, is currently off the coast of Djibouti conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO).
May 2, The amphibious assault ship pulled to Fremantle, Australia, for a scheduled port call.
May 13, LHA 1 departed Hobart, Tasmania, after a three-day port visit. The Tarawa is the first large deck ship to visit Hobart in more than six years.
May 26, USS Tarawa pulled to Pearl Harbor for a brief port call and to pick up friends and family members for a Tiger Cruise back to homeport.
June 3, USS Tarawa returned to San Diego after a seven-month underway period in support of operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. This is the 14th and final deployment of the ship, before decommissioned.
August 1, The amphibious assault ship departed home to participate in Fuerzas Alidas PANAMAX 2008, an annual multi-national exercise to train to defend the Panama Canal.
August 29, The "Bit T" returned to homeport from its last operational exercise.
November 6, LHA 1 completed its final, three-day, underway period after a passing exercise (PASSEX), with the French Navy frigate GS Prairial (F 731), off the coast of southern California.
December 4, A decommissioning ceremony for USS Tarawa was held in Naval Base San Diego to honor its 32 years of U.S. Navy service.
March 31, 2009 USS Tarawa was officialy decommissioned and placed in "Reserve" status.