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USS Saipan (LHA 2)

- decommissioned -

USS SAIPAN was the second ship in the TARAWA - class of amphibious assault ships and the second ship in the Navy to bear the name. Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on April 20, 2007, the SAIPAN was subsequently used for weapons effect testing, providing vital information on structural integrity and survivability assisting in the designing and planning of future ships. After the tests the SAIPAN was transferred to the inactive fleet and was now laid up at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard awaiting final disposal. On May 22, 2009, the SAIPAN was sold for scrapping to International Shipbreaking Ltd., Brownsville, Tx. On October 28, 2009, the SAIPAN left Philadelphia under tow enroute to Brownsville, Tx., for scrapping.

General Characteristics:Awarded: November 15, 1969
Keel laid: July 21, 1972
Launched: July 18, 1974
Commissioned: October 15, 1977
Decommissioned: April 25, 2007
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.
Propulsion system: two boilers, two geared steam turbines
Propellers: two
Aircraft elevators: two
Length: 833,34 feet (254 meters)
Flight Deck Width: 132,2 feet (40.3 meters)
Beam: 106,6 feet (32.5 meters)
Draft: 26,25 feet (8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 39,300 tons full load
Speed: 24 knots
Aircraft: (depends upon mission)
6 AV-8B Harrier attack planesor6 AV-8B Harrier attack planes
4 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters9 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
9 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
4 UH-1N Huey helicopters
Crew: Ship: 82 officers, 882 enlisted    Marine Detachment: 1,900+
Armament: two Rolling Airframe Missile Systems (RAM), four 25mm Mk 38 Gun Mounts, two Phalanx CIWS, five .50 Cal. Mounts

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Crew List:

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

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USS SAIPAN Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS SAIPAN:

September 9, 1986off northern NorwayA CH-46 helicopter crashes into a CH-53 helicopter on the flight deck of USS SAIPAN while participating in NATO exercise "Northern Wedding". The CH-46 flips into the water killing nine.
May 7, 2003Persian GulfAn explosion in a berthing compartment injurs 11 personnel. The injured personnel were members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and have been deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The explosion occurred in a trash receptacle in Marine berthing, piercing a bulkhead and injuring personnel in the adjacent compartment.

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CLICK HERE to read about the name of USS SAIPAN

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History of USS SAIPAN:

SAIPAN's keel was laid by Ingalls Shipbuilding Co., at Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 21 July 1972. SAIPAN was christened on 20 July 1974, by Mrs. Isabelle Middendorf, wife of former Secretary of the Navy, J. William Middendorf, and commissioned as a U.S. Navy vessel on 15 October 1977.

Her first Commanding Officer was Captain F. W. Johnston. SAIPAN's operational career began in July 1979 when she was diverted from Fleet Refresher Training to "Special Contingency Operations" for possible non-combatant evacuation of American personnel from Nicaragua during that country's civil war. In May 1980, SAIPAN was underway augmenting U.S. Coast Guard efforts to assist Cuban refugees crossing the Straits of Florida to the United States. On 25 August 1980, SAIPAN departed Norfolk for the first Mediterranean deployment by a LHA, and on 3 September 1981, SAIPAN deployed for her second tour in the Med. During that deployment, SAIPAN visited or operated in seven different countries on three continents, transited the Suez Canal, and participated in Exercises OCEAN VENTURE, DISPLAY DETERMINATION, BRIGHT STAR and NATIONAL WEEK.

From August 1982 through July 1983, SAIPAN was in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia for her first scheduled, complex overhaul. In September 1983, while undergoing Refresher Training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, SAIPAN was diverted to participate in Operation URGENT FURY off Grenada. SAIPAN then set sail for her third Mediterranean deployment on 22 January 1985. During this deployment, she steamed more than 32,000 miles, logged over 6,700 safe aircraft landings, and visited ports in three countries. After a maintenance period in Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia from October 1985 to February 1986, SAIPAN sailed to Guantanamo Bay to complete Refresher Training. Amphibious Refresher Training was held later in May off the Coast of North Carolina with SAIPAN achieving a 99.97 overall grade, the highest score ever achieved by any amphibious ship.

On 17 August 1986, SAIPAN departed on her fourth Mediterranean deployment. Extended briefly in the Eastern Mediterranean for contingency operations, SAIPAN returned to Norfolk on 24 February 1987. From 17 March 1990 through 17 September 1990, SAIPAN was deployed to the Mediterranean and conducted the evacuation of approximately 1,600 civilians from war-torn Liberia in support of Operation SHARP EDGE. From 17 September 1991 to 17 March 1992, SAIPAN deployed to the Persian Gulf as a unit of ARG 3-91 in support of Operation DESERT STORM. During 1993, SAIPAN was out of home port 245 days.

SAIPAN again deployed to the Mediterranean on 17 March with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT and PROVIDE PROMISE. The ship returned to Norfolk on 10 September 1993, and entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her third scheduled complex overhaul on 29 April 1994.

SAIPAN has deployed twice more to the Mediterranean, in 1996 and 1998.

SAIPAN provided a presence in the Adriatic Sea during the 2000 federal elections in Yugoslavia, and gave support to the first ever U.S.-Croatian exercise. In 2005, she deployed to Haiti where she offloaded Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) One, and nearly 1,200 tons of equipment used to rebuild schools and wells in the hurricane-ravaged country. In December 2006, SAIPAN returned from her final deployment.

SAIPAN's awards include the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal (two awards), Humanitarian Service Medal, Battle Efficiency "E" (four awards), the Admiral Flatley Safety Award (two awards), the Sledge Award, the Atlantic Fleet Surface Force "Admiral's Cup" in 1985, COMPHIBRON Twelve's "Bronze Anchor" for retention excellence, and the 1993 COMNAVSURFLANT Command Excellence Award for Command and Control, Maritime Warfare and Logistics Management. SAIPAN's motto, "Omnia Facimus" - "We do it all" - aptly describes the unique capabilities and history of this very special ship.

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USS SAIPAN Patch Gallery:

Med 2000

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The photo below was taken by Karl-Heinz Ahles when USS SAIPAN visited Corfu, Greece, in August 1996.

The photo below was taken by Brian Barton on October 13, 2008, and shows the SAIPAN laid up at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

The photos below were taken by me on November 7, 2008, and show the SAIPAN laid up at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

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