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USS Fort Fisher (LSD 40)

- decommissioned -

USS FORT FISHER was the last ship in the ANCHORAGE-class of Dock Landing Ships and also the first ship in her class decommissioned. Stricken from the Navy list on February 27, 1998, FORT FISHER spent the following years laid-up at Benicia, Ca., awaiting final disposal. On May 22, 2009, the FORT FISHER was sold for scrapping to International Shipbreaking Ltd., Brownsville, Tx.

General Characteristics:Awarded: May 2, 1967
Keel laid: July 15, 1970
Launched: April 22, 1972
Commissioned: December 9, 1972
Decommissioned: February 27, 1998
Builder: General Dynamics, Quincy, Mass.
Propulsion system: two 600 psi boilers
Propellers: two
Length: 553 feet (168.6 meters)
Beam: 85 feet (25.9 meters)
Draft: 18 feet (5.5 meters)
Displacement: approx. 14,000 tons full load
Speed: 22 knots
Well deck capacity: three LCAC
Aircraft: none, but helicopter platform
Crew: Ship: 18 officers, 340 enlisted
Marine Detachment: 330 Marines
Armament: two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, two Mk-38 Machine Guns, four .50 Machine Guns

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Crew List:

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

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USS FORT FISHER's Commanding Officers:

December 9, 1972 - September 17, 1974Captain Gene F. Gauthier, USN
September 17, 1974 - December 3, 1976Commander Glynn M. Thompson, USN
December 3, 1976 - December 22, 1978Commander John F. Gamboa, USN
December 22, 1978 - March 27, 1981Commander Kenneth R. Barry, USN
March 27, 1981 - March 24, 1983Commander Nigel E. Parkhurst, USN
March 24, 1983 - June 15, 1985Commander Richard C. Williams III, USN
June 15, 1985 - October 24, 1987Commander Arthur J. Gilbert, USN
October 24, 1987 - December 8, 1989Commander Edward P. Anglim, USN
December 8, 1989 - January 17, 1992Commander Thomas F. Radich, USN
January 17, 1992 - October 22, 1993Commander John T. Nawrocki, USN
October 22, 1993 - January 11, 1996Commander William E. Jezierski, USN
January 11, 1996 - August 31, 1997Commander Stuart B. Markey, USN
August 31, 1997 - February 27, 1998Commander Thomas R. Williams, USN

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About the Ship's Name:

USS FORT FISHER takes her name from the Confederate stronghold which stood at the mouth of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The fort guarded Wilmington, the last major seaport to be closed by Union forces. The Confederate Fort Fisher was named in honor of Captain Charles F. Fisher, Confederate States Army, who was born in 1816 and killed in 1861 while commanding North Carolina troops in the First Battle of Manassas. The December 1864 - January 1865 battle for Fort Fisher was the most extensive amphibious campaign of the American Civil War and the largest amphibious operation ever conducted on the North American continent.

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About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

The blue areas allude to the world's oceans, and the red stripe with superimposed gold "tank track" refers to the ship's amphibious assault mission. Red and gold are colors traditionally associated with the Marine Corps.

The white silhouette of a sea-face of Fort Fisher, a Confederate fortification, alludes to the combined Union naval and land assaults on the Fort in December 1864 and January 1865. The latter of these dates is considered a model of amphibious operations and complete Navy-Army coordination. The preliminary Union bombardment was the most furious and sustained known at that time; the red area behind the silhouette of the Fort refers to this unprecedented bombardment from naval vessels. The scallop "shell" further alludes to the naval "shelling" of the Fort.

The shell is also a symbol of pilgrimage and is thus indicative of the ship's readiness to serve in any part of the world. The crossed cutlasses refer to Navy crews and Marine landing forces. The star is a symbol of leadership and alludes to FORT FISHER's capability of functioning as control ship in an amphibious assault. A single white star also appears on the flag of North Carolina, home state of the Fort. The five points of the star and the seven ribs of the scallop shell add up to twelve. This number has special significance as North Carolina was the twelfth state to ratify the Constitution and the Fort Fisher Campaign was the twelfth campaign of the Civil War.

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FORT FISHER was built in Boston Naval Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts. Her keel was laid in July 1970, and she was christened on 22 April 1972. After commissioning on 9 December 1972, FORT FISHER set sail from the East Coast on 2 February 1973, enroute to her new homeport of Long Beach, California, by way of the Panama Canal. On 15 August 1973, her homeport shifted to San Diego, whence FORT FISHER has since operated.

From January until July 1974, the ship made her first extended overseas deployment as a unit of the Amphibious Forces, United States Seventh Fleet. During her service life, FORT FISHER has completed ten extended deployments to the Western Pacific and three to the Arabian Gulf (two of which found the ship in Somalia).

During an overhaul for the purpose of modernization, from September 1986 through May 1987, FORT FISHER was modified to operate and support the newest addition to the U.S. Navy's amphibious arsenal, the air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC). The LCAC is designed to land United States Marines and their equipment at high speed from over-the-horizon.

Due to her versatility, FORT FISHER has received a variety of unusual assignments in addition to her primary amphibious duties. In September 1977, on her way to the Western Pacific, she transported heavy construction equipment for rehabilitation of Eniwetok Atoll, which had been the site of atomic bomb testing. While deployed in 1978 off the coast of Vietnam, the ship rescued a U.S.-flagged yacht that had been temporarily held by the North Vietnamese. In 1988, she twice transited the Panama Canal to ferry new LCACs from Panama City, Florida, to Camp Pendleton, California. And in 1991, FORT FISHER supported counter-narcotics operations off the coast of Central America.

In September 1992, FORT FISHER, as a unit of the TARAWA (LHA 1) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), was ordered to Somalia. Prior to Operation RESTORE HOPE, FORT FISHER assisted in the insertion of the first Combat Controller Team into the airport at Mogadishu. During the deployment from October 1994 through April 1995, the ship was again ordered to that region and was a highly visible part of Operation UNITED SHIELD, the final amphibious withdrawal of troops and equipment from Somalia. FORT FISHER was a cornerstone in what developed into a 23-ship, eight nation coalition of naval, ground, and air forces, executing a night-time amphibious landing and subsequent withdrawal under hostile conditions from the Somali capital. This was the first amphibious withdrawal conducted by United States forces in an operational environment since the Korean War nearly 50 years ago.

In March 1997, FORT FISHER departed on her final deployment. The trip included brief stops in preturnover Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Australia. The ship also made an extended port visit to Aqaba, Jordan. This thirty day stop was in support of the Exercises INFINITE MOONLIGHT and INFINITE SHADOW. These exercises were extremely important as each helped to create strong bonds with the Jordanian military and people. The ship also participated in Exercises RED REEF and IRON MAGIC with other Arabian Gulf nations. FORT FISHER returned home on 24 September 1997 and was decommissioned on 27 February 1998.

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