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USS La Salle (AGF 3)

- formerly LPD 3 -
- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -

USS LA SALLE was the third ship in the RALEIGH - class of Amphibious Transport Docks. Designated a Miscellaneous Command Ship in 1972, the LA SALLE subsequently served as flagship for Commander Middle East Force. That role earned her the nickname "The Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast". In 1994, the LA SALLE assumed duties as flagship for Commander Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Last homeported in Gaeta, Italy, the LA SALLE was decommissioned on May 27, 2005, at Norfolk Naval Base, Va.

On April 12, 2007, the LA SALLE was sunk as a target off the coast of Pensacola, Fla. The sinking of LA SALLE took more than 12 hours and several weapons including Harpoon missiles and 1000lb bombs. Eventually, the USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG 81) sunk the LA SALLE.

General Characteristics:Keel laid: April 2, 1962
Launched: August 3, 1963
Commissioned: February 22, 1964
Decommissioned: May 25, 2005
Builder: New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Propulsion system: steam turbines, two Babcock & Wilcox boilers
Propellers: two
Length: 521 feet (159 meters)
Beam: 84 feet (25.6 meters)
Draft: 21 feet (6.4 meters)
Displacement: approx. 13,900 tons full load
Speed: 21 knots
Armament: two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, Machine gun mounts
Aircraft: none, but flight deck
Crew: Ship: 25 officers and 420 enlisted     Staff: 48 officers and 90 enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS LA SALLE. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS LA SALLE Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS LA SALLE:

March 24, 1967off Cape Henry, Va.USS LA SALLE collides with the Israeli freighter DEGANYA in fog off Cape Henry, Va. Both ships suffered minor damage.
April 21, 1983Naval Station Norfolk, Va.A fire that started in a Naval Supply Center building at Pier 4 spreads to the USS LA SALLE which is tied up at the same pier. The fire damages the ship's starboard side.

The photos below were taken during the fire.


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History of USS LA SALLE:

USS LA SALLE became the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship on 8 November 1994. For the past 30 years, LA SALLE has served the U.S. Navy with mobility, flexibility, and versatility. Those were the trademarks of the family of amphibious transport dock (LPD) ships from which LA SALLE hailed.

LA SALLE has made significant contributions to our nation's maritime history. Following commissioning, LA SALLE served as flagship for Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Forces during the Dominican Crisis, and participated in the evacuation of Construction Battalion Six from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1966, it became the first ship of its size to successfully recover and return a Project Gemini space capsule to Cape Canaveral. During 1969, LA SALLE served as the test platform for the prototype AV-8 Harrier Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) fighter bomber.

In 1972, LA SALLE was designated a Miscellaneous Command Ship (AGF) and assumed duties as the flagship for Commander, Middle East Force. Forward-deployed to Bahrain, and painted white to reflect the Middle East Sun, "The Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast" steamed an average of 55,000 miles annually in that role.

At the onset of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, LA SALLE assisted in the evacuation of 260 Americans and foreign civilians from Bandar Abbas, Iran. In May 1987, LA SALLE rushed to the aid of the stricken frigate, USS STARK (FFG 31), which was adrift and still burning following an Iraqi missile attack. LA SALLE provided crucial fire-fighting, damage control and medical aid, while serving as a central base for all functions related to the incident until USS ACADIA (AD 42) arrived on the scene in June.

The latest chapter in the LA SALLE legacy occurred when she and five other ships in the Persian Gulf were the U.S. Navy presence during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Over the course or Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, LA SALLE assumed the added responsibility of controlling and coordinating the Maritime Intercept Force, and served concurrently as flagship for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command. On 12 March 1991, LA SALLE became the first United States Navy warship to enter the newly liberated port of Ash Shuaybah, Kuwait. Prior to assuming the role of Sixth Fleet flagship, LA SALLE underwent an extensive yard period to upgrade its capabilities.

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As AGF 3:

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