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USS Wasp (LHD-1)

Wasp in the Gulf of Aqaba on 4 October 2007
United States
Name: USS Wasp
Awarded: 28 February 1984
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 30 May 1985
Launched: 4 August 1987
Commissioned: 29 July 1989
Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia
Motto: Honor, Tradition, Excellence
Status: in active service, as of 2016
General characteristics
Class & type: Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 40,532 long tons (41,182 t) full load
Length: 844 ft (257 m)
Beam: 106 ft (32 m)
Draft: 26.5 ft (8.1 m)
  • Steam turbines, 70,000 shp (52 MW)
  • 2 × Boilers, 600 psi (4.1 MPa)
  • 2 × shafts
Speed: 23 knots (26 mph; 43 km/h)
Range: 9,500 nmi (17,600 km) at 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Troops: Up to 2,200 Marines
Complement: 1,075 officers and enlisted
Aircraft carried:

USS Wasp (LHD-1) is a U.S. Navy multipurpose amphibious assault ship. She is the tenth USN vessel to bear the name and was the flagship of the Second Fleet and the lead ship of her class. She was built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton in Pascagoula, Mississippi. USS Wasp and her sister ships are the first specifically designed to accommodate new Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) for fast troop movement over the beach and Harrier II (AV-8B) Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) jets which provide close air support for the assault force. Wasp, which is 257 m long (843 ft) with a beam of 32 meters (105 ft), also accommodates the full range of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters, conventional landing craft, and amphibious vehicles.

Since 2004, in a period when all the rest of the USN's flattops have been heavily tasked and often kept on lengthy deployments, Wasp has not been sent on an extended deployment and the ship is currently assigned to Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) testing.[1]


  • Specifications 1
  • Service history 2
    • Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom 2.1
  • Current and other operations 3
  • Ship's Coat of Arms 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Wasp cruising alongside the veteran aircraft carrier Coral Sea in September 1989

To carry out its primary mission, USS Wasp has an assault support system that synchronizes the simultaneous horizontal and vertical flow of troops, cargo and vehicles throughout the ship. Two aircraft elevators service the hangar bay and flight deck. Six cargo elevators, each 4 by 8 meters (13 by 26 ft), are used to transport material and supplies from the 3,000-cubic-meter (110,000 cu ft) cargo holds throughout the ship to staging areas on the flight deck, hangar bay and vehicle storage area. Cargo is transferred to waiting landing craft docked within the ship's 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2), 81-meter long (266 ft) well dock. Helicopters in the hangar bay or on the flight deck are cargo-loaded by forklift.

Wasp has medical and dental facilities capable of providing intensive medical assistance to 600 casualties, whether combat incurred or brought aboard ship during humanitarian missions. The corpsmen also provide routine medical/dental care to the crew and embarked personnel. Major medical facilities include four main and two emergency operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, x-ray rooms, a blood bank, laboratories, and patient wards. In addition, three battle dressing stations are located throughout the ship, as well as a casualty collecting area at the flight deck level. Medical elevators rapidly transfer casualties from the flight deck and hangar bay to the medical facilities.

For the comfort of the 1,075 crewmembers and 2,200 embarked troops, all manned spaces and berthing areas are individually heated and air conditioned. Berthing areas are subdivided to provide semi-private spaces without adversely affecting efficiency. Deck and wall coverings are decorative but also serviceable and easy to maintain. Messing areas facilitate rapid dining in a restaurant atmosphere. Onboard recreational facilities include a Library Multi-Media Resource Center with Internet access, a weight room, and satellite television capabilities.

USS Wasp‍ '​s two steam propulsion plants — the largest currently in operation in the U.S. Navy — generate a total of 400 tons of steam per hour. The propulsion system develops 70,000 shaft horsepower (52 MW), powering the ship to speeds in excess of 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). USS Wasp was built using more than 21,000 tons of steel, 400 tons of aluminum, 400 miles (640 km) of electrical/electronic cables, 80 miles (130 km) of piping and tubing of various types and sizes, and 10 miles (16 km) of ventilation ducting. Wasp weighed more than 27,000 tons when moved onto the Ingalls floating dry-dock on 30 July 1987 for launch on 4 August 1987, becoming the largest man-made object rolled across land.

In 1996, the ship was fitted with the Advanced Combat Direction System (ACDS).

Service history

In February 1993, she left her port on an emergency deployment to Somalia to participate in the United Nations intervention: Operation Restore Hope. Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Colin Powell landed on the ship that April for a discussion of military tactics taking place in and around Mogadishu. Following that, she assisted off the coast of Kuwait for another operation. She later made stops in Toulon, France and Rota, Spain, en route to her home port in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1998, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.

Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom

A Boatswain's Mate directs a Landing Craft Utility during wet well operations on board USS Wasp

In February 2004, Wasp set sail to take the Marines of 1/6 Marine Regiment and HMM-266 Rein to Afghanistan. They arrived at the end of March and offloaded the Marines. They then returned to the United States to pick up the Marines from HMH-461 and transported them to Djibouti. After offloading HMH-461 in Djibouti, they picked up the Marines of HMM-266 Rein from Kuwait in August 2004, and returned to the coast of Norfolk, Virginia mid-September 2004.

On 7 July 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Wasp. He gave a speech honoring the efforts of the USS Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Current and other operations

MH-47 Chinook takes off from Wasp
A USMC MV-22B Osprey, assigned to VMX-22, prepares to refuel while another Osprey approaches the flight deck of Wasp

In September 2007, Wasp sailed to Nicaragua to offer help to the victims of Hurricane Felix.

Wasp was the first ship to deploy the V-22 Osprey, doing so in October 2007, by carrying VMM-263's ten MV-22B Ospreys to Iraq to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wasp also served as the platform for the program's first Sea Trials in December 1990, involving the third and fourth Osprey prototypes.[2]

Wasp was the principal attraction at Fleet Week 2007 in New York City.

On 4 October 2009, Wasp deployed from its base at Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia on a three-month voyage down the Atlantic coast, to the Caribbean as part of the Southern Partnership Station, amphibious with Destroyer Squadron 40 and an embarked security cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force.[3] The 1,100 sailors and 365 embarked Marines conducted operations and exercises in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. The operation, called the Southern Partnership Station, is part of the "Partnership of the Americas" maritime strategy, which focuses on building interoperability and cooperation in the region to meet common challenges, specifically with matters involving the recent executive orders that United States President Barack Obama addressed on 22 January 2009 of the closing down of Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. The camp, which holds hundreds of prisoners suspected of international terrorism, is scheduled to close within a year.[4]

In mid-October 2009, Wasp set anchor at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and disembarked its Marines, who were assigned to training status for approximately three months while Wasp went underway.

Since Cuba, Wasp has not docked in Jamaica, contrary to rumors, but has practiced further operations and exercises throughout the Caribbean. Wasp returned to Norfolk Naval Station on 22 December 2009.

On 29 June 2010, Wasp was one of the 18 international vessels taking part in the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Canadian Navy in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Canadian and international warships were reviewed by Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.[5]

External video
F-35B tests on USS Wasp in 2011
Short TakeOff
BF-02 vertical landing
BF-04 vertical landing

In 2011, Wasp was modified for F-35B testing, including replacing a Sea Sparrow launcher with monitoring equipment.[6] She returned to sea on 7 July 2011.[7]

An F-35B Lightning lands aboard Wasp in 2013

On 3 October 2011, Wasp had its first F-35B land vertically on her decks during trials. On 5 October 2011, Wasp successfully launched its first F-35B.[8]

On 30 January 2012, Wasp set sail for Operation Bold Alligator, the largest amphibious exercise conducted by U.S. forces in the last decade. The exercise took place from 30 January to 12 February, both afloat and ashore in and around Virginia and North Carolina.

In May 2012, Wasp participated in New York's Fleet Week, docking at Pier 92 on the Hudson River and offering tours of the ship to the general public.[9] In July 2012, Wasp visited Boston for Fleet Week 2012 and Fourth of July festivities.

On 30 October 2012, Wasp was sent towards the Hurricane Sandy impact area in case the USN was needed to support the disaster relief efforts.[10]

The USN plans to deploy Wasp to the Asia-Pacific region in 2017 with a squadron of 16 F-35Bs.[11]

Ship's Coat of Arms

Dark blue and gold are the traditional colors of the US Navy. Blue alludes to the sea, the theater of Naval Operations. Gold is for excellence. The chevron, a traditional symbol for support, represents the amphibious assault mission of the ship. It resembles a wave move to shore and refers to the deployment of men, women and cargo. The wings highlight USS Wasp‍ '​s aviation heritage and capabilities. The modern ship with crossed officers sword and enlisted cutlass adapted from the surface warfare emblems represents leadership, teamwork and the ship's mission in surface operations. The pile of a sharp pointed "V" shape is expressive of assault, combat readiness and victory. The wasp, with its well-developed wings and ability to administer painful stings, epitomizes quick striking power. The stars recall two of the previous ships named Wasp, CV-7 and CV-18, aircraft carriers that earned two and eight battle stars respectively for World War II service. The red disc or sun refers to World War II Japan and the Pacific Theater where these aircraft carriers saw heavy combat action. The tridents are symbolic of sea power and weaponry.

See also


  1. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. (18 June 2012). "Wasp skirts major deployments for 8 years.". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Jones, Kathryn (14 December 1990). "V-22 tilt-rotor passes tests at sea". Dallas Morning News. 
  3. ^ "Navy News Service - Eye on the Fleet: Amphibious Assault Ships Photo Gallery". United States Navy. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Andrew (20 May 2009). "Senate votes to block funds for Guantanamo closure". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  5. ^ [3] Archived 30 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Thomas, Justin K. (22 July 2011). "Wasp prepares for Joint Strike Fighter". Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Stokes, Jah’Mai. (22 July 2011). "Wasp returns to sea for certifications". Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Joint Strike Fighter Program Office Public Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps [4] Archived 17 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "New York Fleet Week Event Guide 2012". CBS New York. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Kirby, John (31 October 2012). "Oct. 31st – Hurricane Sandy Update". Department of the Navy, Office of Information. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Jean, Grace (31 October 2013). "USN to forward deploy F-35B on board modified LHD in 2017". (Jane's Navy International). Archived from the original on 1 December 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 

External links

  • official websiteWaspUSS
  • LHD-1 Photo GalleryWaspMaritimequest USS
  • history at U.S. CarriersWaspUSS
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