Posted by: arbeam | February 13, 2013

USS Fort McHenry hosts Bremerton Navy League

he amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) departs home port, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story

The amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) departs home port, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story

The USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) is a dock landing ship named after Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where the Star Spangled Banner was written during the war of 1812. And incidentally, she was built in Seattle. The official web site is http://www.fort-mchenry.navy.mil/. USS Fort McHenry has had a Proud and Active Service. She delivered Disaster Supplies to Haiti following the Earthquake, stood by in the Mediterranean, and served as Host Ship in Dublin last fall for the Naval Academy Notre Dame Football game.

Last week the ship came to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a short port visit. Our Council of the Navy League sponsored a “Greet & Feed” event at the Sam Adams pub on base in Bremerton. Several of our Navy Leaguers also attended & enjoyed chatting with the officers & crew of the ship. During the evening, some of the officers suggested that we’d be welcome to tour the ship the next morning, so we had a short notice invitation to something remarkable. There wasn’t time to get the word out to all our members, but 5 of us got to go aboard the next morning. USS Fort McHenry departed  Bremerton enroute an Overhaul in Norfolk VA.

100209-N-4971L-063The ship is 610 ft long & has a huge 500 ft long “well deck” down the middle. The ship can ballast itself down with the stern door open, and flood the well deck to a depth of 10 ft. (In warm waters, it can even become a huge swimming pool, but not often used for that purpose.)

The purpose of the ship is to deliver 500+ Marines & their equipment, so they are able to launch fully loaded hovercraft or other landing craft right out the stern for immediate access to combat.

Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) jump off the stern gate during swim call.

Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) jump off the stern gate during swim call.

We were very pleased & proud of the competence, professionalism & friendliness of the CO, officers & crew we met during our tour. One of our members, Helen Miller, brought a selection of magazines for them as well as several of her elegantly prepared “Moon Snail” shells for the kids of the sailors, as a response to her questions asked the night before about what they were taking home to their kids as souvenirs of the NW. They seemed quite pleased to not have to go home to their kids empty handed.

This is another example of how great it is to attend as many Navy related functions as possible. We have a great privilege in associating with high quality Americans in the commands we visit. We can never express our admiration & respect to every Military person, but it is really personally rewarding to express our appreciation to those we can meet.

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