USS DULUTH LPD 6
USS Duluth (LPD 6) is named after the city of Duluth, Minnesota, which in turn is named after the French explorer Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut. Du Lhut lived from 1636-1710, and gained fame when he set out on an expedition to Lake Superior to pacify the Indians in the Ojibwa-Sioux War. She was constructed at the New York Naval Shipyard, and her keel was laid on December 18, 1963. She was commissioned there on December 18, 1965, and is the last fighting ship to be commissioned at the shipyard.
The Duluth sailed to Danang, Republic of Vietnam, in May 1965 to operate with Amphibious Ready Group, U.S. 7th Fleet in the Vietnam War. On June 15, 1966, a Sikorsky H-34 from HC-4 made the first helicopter landing on board.
From May until November 1967, USS Duluth operated with Amphibious Ready Group, Seventh Fleet, in South China Sea. She part in Operations Beacon Gate at Song Cua Dai and Chu Lai (August 7-16) and Beacon Point off Thua Thien province. The amphibious transport dock then steamed off Quang Nam and Quang Tin provinces during Operation Ballistic Charge (September16-28). After refitting at Subic Bay, Philippines, it participated in helicopter-centered Operation Bastion Hill near Cua Viet (Oct. 10-Nov. 1). Following vehicle ferry operations from Subic early in the month, it steamed to Hong Kong, arriving there Nov. 17.
Underway for a western Pacific cruise on May 1, 1970, USS Duluth loaded BLT 1/9 at Okinawa for transfer to Subic Bay at the end of the month. She then made several cargo lifts to Da Nang or to Yankee Station, delivering an H-3 helicopter to the America (CVA 66), spare parts, and carried YFU-52 back to Subic Bay before steaming to Sasebo, Japan, for rest and recreation July 3-15. Returning to Subic on the 19th, she spent the next three months conducting amphibious training and logistics operations from Subic to Da Nang and Vung Tau. In mid-October, LPD 6 embarked 140 Philippine marines for a joint exercise near Manila, but disaster recovery efforts in the wake of Typhoon Joan forced a cancellation of the operation. Arriving in Lagoney Gulf on Oct. 22, USS Duluth operated as a fuel stop and ready deck ship for helicopters during three days of relief operations in a swath of devastated barrios and villages, including the cities of Virac and Naga. Following another month of logistics support out of Subic Bay, she returned to San Diego Dec 10.
After a restricted availability to repair a damaged rotor blade in her port turbine, USS Duluth departed for another western Pacific deployment October 1, 1971. On April 1, following the outbreak of the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive, she sailed to a holding station off South Vietnam to await developments. With the North Vietnamese offensive blunted by the end of the month, she steamed to Subic Bay for rest and relaxation, May 8-21. LPD 6 returned to homeport August 4, 1972.
On March 28, 1975, USS Duluth got underway for a WestPac deployment via Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Subic Bay. Arriving off Vung Tau on April 21, she participated in the evacuation of almost 9,000 people from Saigon; 1,373 Americans and 6,422 of other nationalities, mostly South Vietnamese. The amphibious transport dock then steamed to Subic Bay and disembarked the refugees on May 5. LPD 6 remained at Subic through the end of the month for cleaning ship.In September and October of 1983 the Duluth served in support of the multi-national peace keeping mission to Beirut, Lebanon.
In August of 1989, USS Duluth sailed to Prince William Sound, Alaska, for oil spill decontamination operations with HMM-268 embarked. Her housed clean-up crews, provided medical and weather forecasting services and supported decontamination barge efforts.
USS Duluth departed San Diego January 21, 1994, for a six-month WestPac operations. Arrived in Singapore Feb. 14 and assigned to TG 76.5 for duty off the coast of Somalia. The ship remained in Singapore for six days before getting underway for the Indian Ocean and arriving off Mogadishu on March 3 to assist in the evacuation of American forces from Somalia. She remained there, other than a short trip to Melindi, Kenya, until April 24 when departed to Mombassa. The Duluth then steamed off Kipini, Kenya, holding for possible contingency operations owing to the civil war in Rwanda, until June 4 when she sailed for Fremantle, Australia.
May 21, 1996 Cmdr. Donald S. Inbody relieved Capt. Paul H. Stevens as CO of the Duluth in a ceremony on the flight deck, while underway in the Sea of Thailand en route to Singapore. During the deployment, LPD 6 participated with the other ships of COMPHIBRON Three and 13th MEU in a highly classified operation Return Ox to capture Imad Mughniyah.
August 14, 2000 USS Duluth, commanded by Cmdr. Glenn M. Brunner, departed Naval Station San Diego as part of the Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group, along with the 13th MEU, for a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Ocean. From Sept. 14-16, the Marines conducted a humanitarian assistance operation in East Timor, offloading more than 570 tons of material by aircraft and more than 430 tons via seaslift. The ARG marked its transit home with stops in Seychelles, Thailand, Hong Kong and Iwo Jima.
February 13, 2001 LPD 6 returned to homeport after a six-month underway period in the Arabian Gulf.
From October 21-31, 2002, the Duluth participated in a COMPUTEX off the coast of southern California.
January 6, 2003 USS Duluth, commanded by Cmdr. Charles G. Emmert, departed San Diego for a six-month deployment, with the USS Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th MEU, in support of the Operation Enduring Freedom.
July 13, USS Duluth returned to homeport after scheduled deployment in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
December 6, 2004 LPD 6 departed San Diego for a scheduled western Pacific deployment, with the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group Five and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), in support of the Global War on Terrorism. ESG-5 completed its final preparations for deployment in November during a U.S. 3rd Fleet Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) off the southern coast of California.
January 23, 2005 Expeditionary Strike Group Five concluded operations off the coast of Sumatra, 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, they delivered more than a million pounds of humanitarian aid to tsunami survivors.
April 19, The amphibious transport dock departed Persian Gulf after bringing the 15th MEU back aboard from combat operations in Iraq. ESG ships were on station in the Gulf for almost three months protecting vital Iraqi oil terminals and conducting maritime security operations (MSO).
June 6, USS Duluth, commanded by Cmdr. Larry D. Grippin, returned to Naval Station San Diego and concluded its 182-day deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.
July 22, LPD 6 returned to homeport after a 15-day underway period to Esquimalt, British Columbia and Seal Beach, Calif.
October 13, USS Duluth was officialy decommissioned after 39 years of active service.