The Emblem of the Louisiana State Militia

Louisiana's Military Heritage:

     Vessels named USS SHREVEPORT

Seal of the U.S. Navy


 

USS SHREVEPORT

 

 

Two ships have had the honor to bear the name of SHREVEPORT, the 3rd largest city in Louisiana, located on the Red River in the northwestern corner of the state.

 


 

The First SHREVEPORT (April 24, 1944 ~ May 09, 1946):

 

The first SHREVEPORT (PG-131), a Tacoma-class patrol frigate, was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1434) on March 08, 1943 by Walter Butler Shipbuilders, Inc. of Superior, Wisconsin. She was reclassified PF-23 on April 15, 1943 and launched on July 15, 1943. Her sponsor was Miss Nell Querbes. She commissioned on April 24, 1944 at Algiers, Louisiana, with Commander H.A. Morrison, USCG, in command.

 

Following her shakedown cruise off of Bermuda, SHREVEPORT arrived at Boston on November 09, 1944. Conversion to a weather patrol ship followed and on March 02, 1945, she departed Boston, heading north to assume weather reporting and aircraft lifeguard duties in the North Atlantic.

 

Operating on stations between Newfoundland and Iceland, SHREVEPORT completed her North Atlantic service in the fall and moved south to Recife, Brazil, where she conducted similar patrols from December of 1945 until March of 1946. She sailed for the United States on March 08 and was transferred to the operational control of the U.S. Coast Guard while en route. She arrived at Boston on March 23 and steamed southward to Charleston for inactivation.

 

SHREVEPORT was decommissioned on May 09, 1946 and struck from the Navy list on June 10 of that same year. She was sold for scrapping to the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, in September of 1947.

 

 

Ship's Statistics

 

Class

Tacoma

Keel Laid

March 08, 1943

Launched July 15, 1943
Commissioned April 24, 1944
Final Decommissioning May 09, 1946
Displacement 1,430 tons

Length

303 ft., 11 in.

Beam (width)

37 ft., 6 in.

Draft (depth) 13 ft., 8 in.
Speed 20 knots
Crew 180 men

Armament

Three 3-inch gun mounts

Four 40mm anti-aircraft gun mounts

 

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The Second SHREVEPORT (December 12, 1970 ~ Present):

 

The second SHREVEPORT (LPD-12), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, was laid down on December 27, 1965 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington. She was launched on October 22, 1966 and sponsored by Mrs. Andrew McBurney Jackson, Jr. She was commissioned on December 12, 1970 with Captain Peter H. Pehrsson in command.

 

SHREVEPORT departed Norfolk, Virginia, in early January of 1973 for her first deployment with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. She served as flagship for Commander, Amphibious Squadron Two. During this deployment, she visited ports in France, Italy, Greece, Crete, and Turkey before returning to the United States in July of that year.

 

In 1974 and early 1975, the "Super Gator", as her crew dubbed her, was the flagship of the Caribbean Amphibious Ready Group and participated in various fleet exercises, with South American forces on various occasions.  She deployed again to the Mediterranean Sea in July of 1975 with Commander, Amphibious Squadron Two again embarked for NATO exercises involving British, Turkish, and U.S. naval forces.  Following Christmas at Palma, Spain, SHREVEPORT returned to Norfolk in early February of 1976 having sustained damage on the bow and flag bridge from a massive forty-foot wave, known as the "North Wall Effect", off of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

USS SHREVEPORT (LPD-12) Ship's Seal

 

In late August of 1976, SHREVEPORT deployed to Northern Europe as flagship for Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eight. During the two and one-half month cruise, the ship participated in two major NATO amphibious assault exercises and visited ports in Sweden, West Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

 

In September of 1979, LPD-12 began another deployment to the Mediterranean Sea where she completed four major amphibious operations with European allies.  She returned to Norfolk in February of 1980. In August of that year, her crew earned the Humanitarian Service Medal for their on-scene assistance to the Cuban Flotilla in the Florida Straits. In September of 1981, SHREVEPORT visited Cancun, Mexico while supporting the attendance of the President Ronald Reagan at the North-South Economic Summit Conference.

 

 

USS SHREVEPORT (LPD-12) prepares to deploy one of her helicopters.

USS SHREVEPORT (LPD-12) is seen here with one of her helicopters on the landing pad.

 

In August of 1982, SHREVEPORT departed Norfolk to return to the Mediterranean as flagship for Commander, Amphibious Squadron Six. She joined the multi-national force in September and served for four months off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon before returning to Norfolk in March of 1983. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and the Navy Expeditionary Forces Medal for her operations off of the Lebanese coast.

 

The "Super Gator" returned once more to the Mediterranean in July, 1984. While in Rota, Spain, SHREVEPORT received mission tasking to off-load her embarked Marines and to embark Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen (HM-14). Crossing the Mediterranean and transiting the Suez Canal in world record time, she participated in Operation Intense Look, conducting mine clearance operations in the Red Sea. For her actions in support of this critical operation, SHREVEPORT was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. Later in the deployment, she was called to action off the Lebanese coast. Following the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, SHREVEPORT provided critical medical evacuation and logistics support services. After making port calls in Marseille, France, and Malaga and Rota, Spain, she returned to Norfolk.

 

In May of 1985, SHREVEPORT was present for the opening ceremonies of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Mobile, Alabama. On her return trip to Norfolk, she logged her 25,000th helicopter landing. Later in the year, she was involved in several minor underway exercises and began making preparations for a shipyard overhaul. In October, she departed Norfolk bound for overhaul in Brooklyn, New York. While in the shipyard, the ship underwent extensive refurbishment, modernization, and upgrade. She returned to Norfolk in July of 1987.

 

After several weeks at sea in December of 1986 and January of 1987, SHREVEPORT departed Norfolk for refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Upon successful completion of training, she returned to Norfolk in March. One month later, she participated in Exercises Solid Shield '87 in preparation for her upcoming deployment. In September, she departed for the Mediterranean. Embarked with Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22 MEU), SHREVEPORT—along with USS NASSAU (LHA-4) and USS MANITOWOC (LST-1180)—composed the first Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) to deploy in conjunction with a regularly scheduled Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (ACBG) deployment. She participated in several amphibious exercises, including a joint MARG/ACBG fleet exercise and Exercise African Eagle off the Moroccan coast. SHREVEPORT arrived in home port in March of 1988.

 

The "Super Gator" on the move as she steams toward her next assignment.

Commissioned in 1970, USS SHREVEPORT (LPD-12) has participated in—or supported—U.S. military operations in

Lebanon, Kuwait, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Iraq.

 

 

That following June, the ship entered the Metro Machine Corporation shipyard in Norfolk where she underwent four months of repair, upgrade, and refurbishment. Six months later in January of 1989, she departed Norfolk for refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before deploying again to the Mediterranean. While there, she visited ports in Spain, France, Israel, Egypt, Italy, and Portugal. A scheduled visit to Toulon, France was abruptly canceled when SHREVEPORT was suddenly tasked to support the American Embassy evacuation operations in Beirut. She conducted numerous evacuation rehearsals with U.S. Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps helicopters operating from her flight deck.

 

November of 1989 saw the "Super Gator" returning to Norfolk and the Metro Machine Corporation shipyards for another maintenance availability. She was underway again in June of 1990 and spent the majority of the summer months conducting local operations and exercises in preparation for a deployment to Northern Europe. That deployment was canceled when SHREVEPORT was tasked to deploy to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Shield.

 

This ship patch for USS SHREVEPORT (LPD-12) illustrates her nickname of "The Super Gator."

SHREVEPORT departed Norfolk on August 15, 1990 with Commander, Amphibious Squadron Six embarked. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, she logged more than 40,000 nautical miles and served as the primary control ship during the four "Sea Soldier" amphibious assault exercises. The amphibious task force was the largest assembled since the landings at Inchon during the Korean War. The ship also participated in the intercept of the Iraqi ship IBN KHALBOON and the processing of enemy prisoners of war. Following an eighteen-month deployment, SHREVEPORT returned home to Norfolk on April 17, 1991. In January of 1992, SHREVEPORT was awarded the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for outstanding readiness and performance during her deployment to the Middle East in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

 

In November of 1993, LPD-12 was assigned to the coast of Mogadishu, Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope. Just two months later in January of 1994, she was present in the Adriatic Sea taking part in Operation Provide Promise and flying reconnaissance missions over Bosnia-Herzegovina. From December of 1995 through February of 1996, she provided support of the enforced no-fly zone over the war-torn republics of the former Yugoslavia (Operation Deny Flight) and the air drop of humanitarian aid to the residents of the city of Sarajevo (Operation Provide Promise). She also provided support of Operation Joint & Decisive Endeavor.

 

SHREVEPORT was deployed to the Mediterranean once more on October 03, 1997.  Her cruise was interrupted in early February of 1998 when she was called away from her schedule to spend the remainder of the deployment supporting Operation Southern Watch in the Arabian Gulf.

 

LPD-12 was awarded the Commander, Naval Surface, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Battle Efficiency Award and Safety Award in 1998 and 1999, as well as her sixth consecutive Engineering "E", seventh Maritime Warfare "E", third Operations "E", first Logistics "E" and first Medical "H".  The "Super Gator" once again deployed to the Mediterranean between September of 1999 and April of 2000 where she supported Exercises Bright Star, Noble Shirley, and Infinite Moonlight in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf areas.

 

When members from the Al Queida terrorist network hijacked three civilian airliners on September 11, 2001, and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the SHREVEPORT was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in support of the U.S. response to the terrorist threat:  Operation Enduring Freedom.  That deployment lasted from September of 2001 through April of 2002.  LPD-12 again supported the "War on Terror" as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in February of 2004 as part of the WASP Amphibious Ready Group.  Operating as an Afloat Forward Staging Base, she participated in intelligence gathering missions off the Horn of Africa and led the defense of the Al Basra and Khawr Al Amaya oil terminals off the coast of Iraq.  This deployment ended in September of that year.

 

SHREVEPORT returned home and underwent Dry Dock Maintenance Availability at Metro Machine Corporation in Norfolk, Virginia, from October of 2004 to February of 2005.  She returned to duty in time to participate in relief efforts along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in September of 2005 as part of the IWO JIMA Amphibious Read Group.  In January of 2007, SHREVEPORT made her final deployment conducting Marine Safety Operations as part of the BATAAN Expeditionary Strike Group.  She returned to Norfolk, Virginia, in July of that year and was decommissioned there on September 28, 2007.  Afterward, she was towed to the Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she remains awaiting disposal.

 

During her 37 years in service, USS SHREVEPORT (LPD-12) was the proud recipient of four Navy Unit Commendations, two Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, six Battle "E" ribbons, two Navy Expeditionary Medals (Lebanon), the National Defense Service Medal, two Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal (Operation Intensive Look), and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

 

Ship's Statistics

 

Class

Austin

Keel Laid

December 27, 1965

Launched

October 22, 1966

Commissioned

December 12, 1970

Final Decommissioning

September 28, 2007

Displacement

17,000 tons (full load)

Length

570 ft.

Beam (width)

85 ft.

Draft (depth)

22 ft.

Speed 21 knots

Propulsion

Two Foster Wheel boilers (600 psi)

Two De Laval GT steam turbines (12,000 hp each)

Crew

30 officers, 390 enlisted

Marines — 76 officers, 770 enlisted (when embarked)
Staff — 36 officers, 70 enlisted (when embarked)

Armament

Four 3-inch, 50-caliber guns

Two Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapons System)
Two 25mm chain guns
Eight 50-cal. machine guns

Aircraft

Up to six CH-46 Sea Knight or four CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters

 

 

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All information listed above courtesy of the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
Additional information on USS SHREVEPORT (PF-23) courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard.
All photos courtesy of U.S. Navy unless otherwise noted.

 

**Copyright 1997-2011 by Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission**