USS Guam LPH-9: A Legacy of Strength and Service

USS Guam LPH-9: A Legacy of Strength and Service

The USS Guam LPH-9 holds a place in the history of the United States Navy. Its construction began on October 30, 1962, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. This ship was named after Guam, which is a U.S. Territory located in the Pacific Ocean. Its name serves as a tribute to the resilient people of Guam who endured a Japanese occupation during World War II before being liberated by American forces.

One of the aspects of the USS Guam LPH-9 was its design as an amphibious assault ship. Belonging to the Iwo Jima class it was specifically built to support Marine Corps operations. With a length of 590 feet and weighing over 18,000 tons, this vessel could carry a Marine Expeditionary Unit along with helicopters landing craft and various armored vehicles.

The USS Guam LPH-9 has left behind a legacy within the U.S. Navy. Throughout its service, it actively participated in operations and exercises across different regions such as deployments to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and Caribbean. Notably, it played a role in supporting combat operations during events like the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The USS Guam also played a role in providing aid and assistance during times of crisis serving as a platform for missions.

Being part of the Iwo Jima class the USS Guam LPH-9 was specifically designed to function as an assault ship. Its main objective was to transport and support Marines in operations ensuring they had the equipment, supplies, and air support. The ship's well deck allowed for the deployment and retrieval of landing craft while its flight deck facilitated helicopter operations. This versatility made the USS Guam an essential asset in projecting power and safeguarding interests worldwide.

On September 16, 1965, Captain William J. Vaught commanded the commissioning ceremony that marked the induction of the USS Guam LPH-9 into service within the U.S. Navy's fleet. Throughout its service life spanning over three decades, various upgrades and modernizations were carried out on the USS Guam to enhance its capabilities and extend its effectiveness. Finally on August 25, 1998, after years of service to our nation, it was decommissioned. 

USS Guam LPH-9 Framed Navy Ship Display
USS Guam LPH-9 Framed Navy Ship Display

Forging Power and Protection: USS Guam LPH-9's Arsenal and Advancements

The USS Guam LPH-9, which served in the United States Navy from 1965 to 1998 played a role as an assault ship. In this section, we will delve into the ship's structure, technology, armament, and weaponry to highlight its capabilities and contributions to operations.

Firstly, let's discuss the design of the USS Guam LPH-9 that allowed it to accommodate a range of operations. With its length measuring 590 feet and displacement exceeding 18,000 tons the ship provided space for housing a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) along with their equipment. The well deck is situated at the launching and recovery of landing craft, helicopters, and other amphibious vehicles. Moreover, the ship featured a flight deck of supporting aircraft such as helicopters and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

When it comes to technology advancements on board USS Guam LPH-9 enhanced its capabilities significantly. The ship boasted a command and control center that ensured coordination during amphibious operations. The USS Guam LPH-9 was equipped with radar and communication systems, which helped it stay aware of its surroundings and communicate seamlessly with naval assets. These technological advancements allowed the ship to operate efficiently and effectively in environments and combat situations.

When it came to defense and supporting ground forces during operations, armament played a role for the USS Guam LPH-9. The ship had an arsenal that included aircraft missiles, close-in weapon systems (CIWS), and anti-submarine torpedoes. These weapons provided the ship with the capability to engage and neutralize threats from the air, surface, and domains ensuring both the safety of the Marines on board and the ship itself.

Additionally, to support ground forces in assaults the USS Guam LPH-9 carried types of weaponry. It could transport and launch landing craft, armored vehicles, and helicopters for the deployment of Marines and their equipment. The well deck and flight deck of the ship served as platforms for launching these assets enabling efficient operations. This capability made the USS Guam LPH-9 a vital asset in projecting power while providing support to ground forces in military operations. 

USS Guam LPH-9 Personalized Plaque
USS Guam LPH-9 Personalized Plaque

Evolution and Adaptation: Enhancing USS Guam LPH-9's Mission Capabilities

Throughout its service history, the USS Guam LPH-9 underwent upgrades aimed at enhancing its mission capabilities and bolstering the overall strength of the fleet. These upgrades not only improved the ship's performance but also allowed it to adapt effectively to evolving operational requirements. One noteworthy upgrade included equipping the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) which greatly enhanced the ship's defense against ship missiles and other threats nearby. This upgrade significantly increased survivability during combat operations and ensured crew safety.

Furthermore, apart from enhancements and advancements in capabilities were also witnessed aboard the USS Guam LPH-9. The flight deck and hangar of the ship were modified to accommodate an array of aircraft, including helicopters and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. This upgrade expanded the ship's versatility enabling it to support missions such as assaults, humanitarian aid operations, and search and rescue missions. The USS Guam LPH-9 became an asset in projecting power and providing support in both combat and peacetime operations.

Moreover, the USS Guam LPH-9 played a role in the fleet's ability to project power and maintain a presence in different regions worldwide. With its enhanced capabilities, the ship became a component of task forces capable of swiftly deploying Marines and their equipment to any potential conflict zone. The USS Guam LPH-9's capacity to transport, launch, and recover helicopters and VTOL aircraft significantly improved the fleet's flexibility by allowing for responses to emerging threats and crises.

Furthermore, the USS Guam LPH-9's contribution extended beyond its combat capabilities. The ship served as a platform for assisting in disasters and other emergencies by offering critical support. Its capability to efficiently transport personnel, supplies, and equipment to affected areas made it an invaluable asset in delivering aid to those, in need.

The USS Guam LPH-9 is an asset in the US Navy's fleet providing support for a wide array of challenges and situations. Its adaptability and versatility contribute significantly to the nation's ability to respond effectively. 

Framed Navy Discharge Certificate
Framed Navy Honorable Discharge Certificate

Memories Aboard the USS Guam LPH-9  

The USS Guam LPH-9 has been home to countless sailors over the years, each with their own unique stories and experiences. From unforgettable deployments to memorable encounters, these crew members share a glimpse into life aboard the Mighty 9.

Clifford Clark, an AC-3 from 1975 to 1978, recalls his first Shore Patrol during the Barcelona incident, alongside the camaraderie of a band formed onboard. Chris Cadle, DN/DA from 1993 to 1994, cherishes the friendships made and adventures had, especially during the D-Day 50th anniversary. Phil "Mac" McLaughlin, RM2 from 1985 to 1986, reminisces about the dry dock in Philly, the Space Shuttle Disaster Recovery, and the vibrant city of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

James "Randy" McCollum, HM1(SW/AW) from 1994 to 1997, fondly remembers the camaraderie in the medical department, steel beach picnics, and significant events like D-Day commemorations. Jesse Ware, ABF 3 from 1983 to 1985, reflects on Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and memorable USO shows featuring Bob Hope and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Michael E. Lang, MS3 from 1978 to 1982, shares his journey from a Mess Specialist Apprentice to MS3, culminating in his retirement after 24 years of service. Larry Baker, SR SA SN, and BM3 from 1985 to 1987 remembers his time in the deck department and his subsequent disability, seeking connections with former shipmates.

Francis "Frank" Walker, ABH-3 from 1975 to 1990, recounts his experiences during North Atlantic and Mediterranean cruises, including helicopter losses and his involvement with the USS Guam Association. James Tolbert, OS1 from 1994 to 1997, reflects on his initial perceptions of the ship and the lasting bonds formed with fellow sailors.

Paul Parrish, QM2(SW) from 1994 to 1998, bids a bittersweet farewell to the Mighty 9, acknowledging the unique camaraderie found onboard and his continued service in the Navy. 

Personalized Navy Veteran Push Pin Travel Map
Personalized Navy Veteran Push Pin Travel Map

Legacy of Excellence: USS Guam LPH-9 in Operations and Conflicts

Since its commissioning in 1965 as part of the Iwo Jima class assault ships, the USS Guam LPH-9 has been a part of the United States Navy fleet. Over its years of service, it has embarked on deployments to regions across the globe. From navigating through the Mediterranean Sea to operating in the Persian Gulf area, this ship consistently demonstrates its flexibility and preparedness to support operations.

Throughout its service history, the USS Guam LPH-9 has been involved in a range of operations including missions, peacekeeping endeavors, and combat support. These deployments demonstrate the ship's versatility and dedication to security.

The USS Guam LPH-9 has played a part in significant conflicts over the years. During the Vietnam War, it provided support to ground forces by facilitating helicopter operations, troop transportation, and medical evacuations. Its ability to swiftly deploy and sustain a large number of troops proved invaluable in the ever-changing environment of that war. Additionally, the USS Guam played a role in Operation Desert Storm as part of the coalition forces' amphibious assault capabilities contributing significantly to Kuwaits liberation.

In recognition of its performance and contributions to operations, the USS Guam LPH-9 has received numerous awards and commendations. The ship was honored with the Navy Unit Commendation for its service during the Vietnam War highlighting its role in supporting ground forces and carrying out humanitarian missions. Furthermore, it was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for its participation in Operation Desert Storm—an acknowledgment of its contributions to mission success.

These honors demonstrate the work and professionalism of the ship crew showing their dedication to maintaining the highest standards of the United States Navy. These accolades highlight the courage, expertise, and selflessness demonstrated by both men and women who have served on the USS Guam 

USS Guam LPH-9 Coffee Mug
USS Guam LPH-9 Coffee Mug

USS Guam LPH-9 Ship Specifications

Specification Details
Class Iwo Jima Class
Helicopter Assault Ship
Commissioned January 16, 1965
Displacement 18,474 tons
Length 592 feet
Beam 84 feet
Draft 27 feet
Speed 22 knots
Complement 667
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