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The USS Peleliu is being decommissioned.

Discussion in 'Military History' started by A-58, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    The amphibious assault ship, USS Peleliu, the last of the Tarawa class in service is being decommissioned March 31st, and will be replaced with the new class of warship of the America class. Any rogues here had the pleasure of serving on her? Stories welcome.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Peleliu_(LHA-5)
     
  2. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    I was on the Nassau LHA 4.....well deck was huge!....a lot of the gators have been decommissioned since I was in, late 80s....wow.....easy duty for Marines<>no humping,etc.....we worked out a lot....I was on 2 LSTs, an LPH, and Nassau...I loved it!!.....they had about the same ''size'' as a WW2 carrier, so I could do a lot of imagining!... went down the ropes one time for training......I escaped from Rio bar one time by faking I was drunk.....sorry, not the Pel stories though
     
  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I did a float on the Peleilu. IIRC, so did Brad. One of the most memorable sights I remember seeing was out the rear opening of a CH-46 flying off the Peleilu when we were doing a heliborne assault. I looked out the rear ramp as we were climbing away and there were all these 46's in a long spiral leading down to the ship.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    didn't have digital cameras then, did you? what's IIRC?
     
  5. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I remember first time seeing the "Nickel" from pier side and thinking how big it was and then the exact opposite from the back of a 46
     
  6. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    IIRC=if I recall correctly
     
  7. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    ty--thought it was '2'..I'm not a texter
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I served two years on Saipan, (LHA-2), interesting time on a very capable ship, but it made me question the value of combining well deck and helo operations in the same ship. In theory it offers flexibility, in practice not so much, and there are significant conflicts between the various types of operations she could be called on to conduct. My time included two Med/IO deployments and several major NATO and US exercises, and every time the same troops and equipment went by boat or by helo. Much of the equipment we carried couldn't have gone by helo, or would have been restricted to the CH-53s. There were basically two different operations going on in the same ship, with different requirements for positioning and movement. It's pure luck if the track into the beach to launch landing craft is also suitable for flight ops; usually we had to launch helos first and then head for the beach. Flight ops usually need more sea room, and if you're launching Harriers (or F-35s) you might need to steam at high speed into the wind.

    Even with LCACs or other high-speed craft, the basic physical rule still dictates that the rate of deliver of material ashore is inversely proportional to distance from shore. There will always be pressure to get the well-deck ship as close as possible, all the more so when it's the biggest well deck and vehicle deck in the fleet. That may or may not be the best location for flight ops, and I recall thinking as we swung around the anchor within easy artillery range of the shore that this was not the place for a major aviation ship.

    It was fun doing NGFS, John Waynes and the rest, but a 40,000-ton aircraft carrier was hardly the best platform for bringing a couple of 5"/54s to bear - which the Navy apparently came to agree with, since they removed the guns and left them off followon ships.

    The place for the avaition ship is over the horizon, safer from attack and able to launch heliborne or air strikes with maximum efficiency and minimum warning to the enemy.

    There's also the possibilty of using the LHA/LHD purely for aviation operations, like the initial deployment of Nassau (LHA-4) or the deployments of Kearsarge (LHD-3) which included rescues of downed Air Force pilots from Bosnia and Libya, which deprives the amphibious force of the ship's well deck and cargo capacity. It's like sending an LPH on a mission and forcing an empty LPD to tag along.

    I think there's a strong case to be made for a pure aviation ship, or for one with only a small well deck, sized for one air cushion or two conventional landing craft. Most of the interior space should be devoted to hangar/aviation facilities or troop quarters rather than extensive vehicle decks. The hangar should occupy as much of the ship's length as possible; it could also accomodate light vehicles for either heliborne or surface delivery, but the basic concept is for the ship to carry the equipment of its airborne troops. Tanks, artillery, and the rest should simply be on another ship which can deliver them as efficiently as possible.

    A short well deck would provide flexibility for humanitarian operations and would provide an emergency option for offloading troops if some circumstance prevents helo ops (this was one perceived shortcoming of the LPHs). In such cases boats other than the carrier's own are likely to be available. It could launch minesweeping sleds if the ship is used to support minesweeping helicopters as was done off Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf. They key point is that you never get something for nothing; excessive well deck, vehicle, etc. capacity can only come at the expense of aviation, as we're seeing in the designs of the latest LHA/LHDs.
     
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  9. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    we vote Carronade the new chief of cutting taxes!!! I spent 6 months on the Inchon...but only about 3 weeks on the Nassau when the pres went to Columbia...were tracs [AAVs ] normally carried on the LHAs??....
     
  10. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    There were AAV's on the Pelelieu when I was on it and LCMs. There was also an LPD and an LST in our MEU. Seems like we even did some LCAC stuff during the cold water work up; but, I don't recall any being embarked.

    Along with the LPD and LST we also had the Missouri and the Ranger with al of their support ships; the MEU was only a part of the equation. OpanPointer could give much more insight on the subject as he was on the "Blueside" of Pelelieu.

    I think there is a benefit to having an Amphibious ready group in a small ( 3 Ship) package with Air and Naval Gunfire in reasonable proximity.

    However; I think the MV/OV-22 has been a game changer as far as amphibious force projection goes. The old CH-46's just didn't have the legs to get too far out of sight let alone "beyond the horizon"
     
  11. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    yes, good point on the 22s....AAVs are really slow, but if you control the sea and air, I don't see much of a problem.....when we were leaving the Nassau from the well deck, the boat operator-I forget what it was-LCVP, ?] hit something of the ship...I thought maybe he did it on purpose, cause everyone fell over, except me, I was sitting...the boat actually was backing out and the stern hit the something on the Nassau
     
  12. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    do they save money by having one instead of 2 types?? are they getting rid of the Newport class LSTs?? I know they decommissioned a lot of them, the 2 I was on...
     
  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Probably. I don't have cost figures, but my guess would be that the LHD looks good if you're just considering how much lift you can buy for a given shipbuilding budget. This may also be why smaller navies like Australia that can only afford one or two amphibs are interested in multi-role ships. My concern is with the operational issues I mentioned. For example one of the assets of the LHD is the ability to use it as a mini-aircraft carrier, but that could mean a waste of its amphibious capability.

    btw I think LHD is the best designation for a ship which combines the Helicopter and Dock modes.

    The Newports have been gone for a while. Several of them went to foreign navies. The Australians did an interesting mod, removed the overhanging derricks up front and added a helicopter hangar to the superstructure. Incidentally I did my senior year NROTC summer cruise on the Lamoure County our of Little Creek.

    The amphib force today comprises LHDs, LPDs, and LSDs. The LPDs are a mix of the new San Antonio class and a few of the 1960s-vintage Austin class. The current LSDs date from the 1980-90s.

    We only had AAVs on Saipan once while I was aboard, for a training exercise/qualification. I was CIC officer at the time, the exercise went fine, we launched the first one within 4 seconds of the scheduled time, but again I remember thinking that a 40,000-ton target was not the best platform for delivering assault vehicles.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    Carranade, I never went to the CIC...wish I would've done a little tour..I did think all the LSTs went out....I remember lining the rails on the Sumter or Manitowoc [forget which one ] going into Manta, Ecuador..I was center front, under the arms, and we were moving! we were well out from the harbor, while a few ships [ I guess Ecuadorean ] stood by ....LHAs do seem big to land AAVs..but you have better control of all the assets on a single ship, no? easier to resupply one instead of 2 ships?....I need to update myself on these new ships....much thanks....
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I did a float on the USS Manitowoc too. Small world.

    Those were all fine points you made in your post Carronade. Didn't know you were a "Gator" sailor. The Navy itself followed that line of thinking when the designed the Wasp class LHD's sucessors. The America class LHA doesn't have a well deck and has more extensive aviation capabilities. America LHA-6 is in commission and LHA-7 Tripoli is under construction, LHA-8 has been funded and there are plans for LHA-9 and 10. Lessons learned during the GWOT however has the Navy and Marine Corps rethinking the deletion of the well deck because of the need to sometimes land Marines with heavier assets. The follow on ships (LHA-8,9,10) in the class will again have a well deck.
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    I was on the Sumter and Many, I forget which years!! 1 was 1988, the other 89..IIRC
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    We actually had a Marine - TOW gunner - who hung around CIC, learned some of the basic duties, and even stood watch with my guys during transits when his unit didn't have him busy. As I recall he made two deployments with us.

    When the LHA was conceived, it was hoped that it would be able to accommodate an entire BLT, but that didn't work out, our standard ARG comprised an LHA, LPD (or once an LKA), and LST; and I understand the current ESG is similar, LHD, LPD, LSD. The new LPD and LSD have more capacity than the old ships; apparently the material needs of an MAU/MEU keep increasing. A recent article in Proceedings noted that the Marines acquire new equipment and expect the Navy to transport it, which no doubt contributes to the demand USMCPrice cited for well decks in what should be primarily aviation ships. Ideally we'd just build a few more LPDs, but I suppose it comes down to budgets.

    The Tarawa, Wasp, America, etc. are all variations of the same basic design, which apparently is easier or more economical than designing totally new ships, and that tends to make the question whether this particular ship type should or should not have a well deck. On the other hand, if we had not built the LHA, just built improved LPHs, I doubt anyone today would be thinking about shoving a well deck into them.

    I was never on an LPH, but they seem to have been pretty mediocre ships. For $ome rea$on they had only one screw despite being the most valuable ships in the amphibious force; everything else except the LKAs had twin screws. On one occasion Okinawa was immobilized in mid-ocean when a propellor blade fell off. Luckily, pure chance I'm sure, it was a four-bladed prop, so the solution was to send divers out to the ship and cut off the opposite blade, so she could steam to port for repairs.

    An ARG headed by an LPH had five ships, including an LPD, LSD, and two LSTs, so an LHA was roughly comparable to an LPH, LSD, and LST.
     
  18. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    how could they ''hope'' a BLT would fit? they didn't know? the LPHs were old!.....prop blade fell off?? holy moly ...nice
     
  19. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Originally, as designed (Tarawa class) a BLT would fit. Then we got newer and more communications equipment, when the Peleilu was designed we didn't have all the computerization we have now. We used the M-60 tank and not the larger heavier M1, we used M151's not the larger humvee and then the still larger/heavier MRAP's/MATV's. We used 2 1/2 and 5 ton trucks, now the standard is the Oshkosh 7 ton. We were using CH-46's, AH-1's, UH-1's and a few CH-53's. Now we have the MV-22, a much larger aircraft. The AV-8 was not initially intended to be embarked, then we got them, now we're looking at an even larger and heavier aircraft the F-35. Originally, they were to carry a mix of AAV's, LCM's and LCU's, then the Navy got LCAC's (entered service in '86). Some of the modifications for the Wasp class LHD were to better accomodate these systems which weren't envisioned when the Tarawa class was designed and built, (LHA-1 Tarawa, laid down 15 Nov 1971-commissioned 29 May 1976). They really performed well for a platform designed and construction started when we were still in Vietnam! The Peleilu now retiring almost 40 years since Tarawa entered the service, not to shabby a design.
     
  20. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    even if they couldn't carry a full BLT, the had a heavy punch...
     

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