Amphibious Assault Ship

LHA 2  -  USS Saipan

 

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan patch crest insignia

LHA-2 USS Saipan Tarawa class amphibious assault ship

Type, Class:

 

Amphibious Assault Ship (General Purpose) - LHA; Tarawa - class

planned and built as LHA 2

Builder:

 

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA

STATUS:

 

Awarded: November 15, 1969

Laid down: July 21, 1972

Launched: July 18, 1974

Commissioned: October 15, 1977

Decommissioned: April 25, 2007

Fate: sold for scrapping to International Shipbreaking, Brownsville, Texas - September 2009.

Homeport:

 

-

Namesake:

 

Named after and in honor of the Battle of Saipan (Mariana Islands) - June/July 1944

> see history, below;

Ship's Motto:

 

OMNIA FACIMUS  "we do it all"

Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)

 

see: INFO > Tarawa class Amphibious Assault Ship - LHA

 

ship images

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Tarawa class amphibious assault ship

Norfolk, Virginia - December 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk Virginia 2006

Norfolk, Virginia - December 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - December 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Suez Canal 2006

Suez Canal - December 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Suez Canal - December 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Arabian Sea

Arabian Sea - November 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Arabian Sea 2006

Arabian Sea - November 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan CVN-69 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Arabian Sea

Arabian Sea - November 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Arabian Sea - November 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Persian Gulf 2006

Persian Gulf - November 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf - November 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Red Sea 2006

Red Sea - October 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Red Sea - October 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf - September 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf - September 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf - September 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Suez Canal 2006

Suez Canal - September 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Mediterranean Sea 2006

Mediterranean Sea - August 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Med Sea

Mediterranean Sea - August 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Mediterranean Sea - August 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Mk-15 CIWS

Atlantic Ocean - August 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk

Norfolk, Virginia - August 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Mediterranean Sea 2006

Mediterranean Sea - June 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Phoenix Express 2006

Exercise PHOENIX EXPRESS 2006 - Mediterranean Sea - June 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan FFG-56 USS Simpson exercise Phoenix Express 2006 Mediterranean Sea

Exercise PHOENIX EXPRESS 2006 - Mediterranean Sea - June 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean - May 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk 2006

Norfolk, Virginia - May 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - May 2006

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan 2005

Norfolk, Virginia - August 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - August 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - August 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Atlantic Ocean - August 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Coast of Albania 2005

Coast of Albania - July 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk 2005

Norfolk, Virginia - May 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - March 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - March 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Curacao 2005

Curacao - February 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Guantanamo Bay Cuba

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - February 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Guantanamo Bay Cuba 2005

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - February 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Caribbean Sea well deck operations

Caribbean Sea - February 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck

Caribbean Sea - February 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck

Off Mississippi - January 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Gulf of Mexico well deck

Gulf of Mexico - January 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck operations

Gulf of Mexico - January 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Pascagoula Mississippi

Pascagoula, Mississippi - January 2005

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 Pascagoula MS

Pascagoula, Mississippi - January 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk Virginia 2005

Norfolk, Virginia - January 2005

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Atlantic Ocean - September 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan LSD-51 USS Oak Hill Atlantic coast

Atlantic coast - September 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck

Atlantic Coast - July 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan SH-60 Seahawk

Atlantic coast - June 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Atlantic ocean

Atlantic coast - June 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan LCAC well deck

Atlantic coast - June 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan flight deck

Atlantic Ocean - April 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan flight deck

Atlantic Ocean - April 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Atlantic ocean CH-46 Sea Knight CH-53 helicopter

Atlantic Ocean - April 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan island

Atlantic Ocean - April 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck LCU-1660

Atlantic Ocean - March 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck M-1 tank

Atlantic Ocean - March 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan AV-8B Harrier II launch

Virginia coast - March 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck LCU-1660

Virginia coast - March 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan LCU-1655 well deck

Virginia coast - March 2004

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk

Norfolk, Virginia - June 2003

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan LPD-15 USS Ponce

January 2003

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan CH-46 Sea Knight CH-53 Super Stallion

January 2003

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

October 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

September 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Atlantic Ocean - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan off the coast of Virginia

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan stern gate well deck

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

USS Saipan LHA-2

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Off the coast of Virginia - March 2002

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan LPD-4 USS Austin

September 2000

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - September 1999

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan MV-22 Osprey

August 1999

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan MV-22B Osprey flight deck

August 1999

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 MV-22 Osprey

January 1999

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Rota Spain

Rota, Spain - December 1996

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Rota Spain

Rota, Spain - December 1996

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk Naval Base 1996

Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia - January 1996

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Norfolk Virginia 1996

Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia - January 1996

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia - March 1992

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan AV-8B Harrier II on flight deck

December 1991

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

December 1991

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

December 1991

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan flight deck with Mk-45 gun mounts

December 1991

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - June 1991

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Norfolk, Virginia - March 1991

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan operation Sharp Edge 1990 off Liberia

Operation SHARP EDGE - off Liberia - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan operation Sharp Edge Liberia

Operation SHARP EDGE - off Liberia - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan operation Sharp Edge August 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan with LCU-1643 operation Sharp Edge 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck operation Sharp Edge 1990 Liberia

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Sharp Edge 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan off Liberia

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan operation Sharp Edge Liberia 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan off Liberia 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan operation sharp edge 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan operation sharp edge off Liberia 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan sharp edge 1990

Operation SHARP EDGE - August 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Dragon Hammer 1990

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - May 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Dragon Hammer 90

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - May 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Dragon Hammer 90

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - May 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Dragon Hammer 90

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - May 1990

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 CH-53 take off

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - May 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - May 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Fleet Ex 1-90

Exercise FLEET EX 1-90 - January 1990

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 exercise FLEET EX 1-90

Exercise FLEET EX 1-90 - January 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Fleet Ex 1-90 well deck marines

Exercise FLEET EX 1-90 - January 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Fleet Ex 1-90

Exercise FLEET EX 1-90 - January 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan fleet ex 1-90

Exercise FLEET EX 1-90 - January 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Dragon Hammer 90

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90 - 1990

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Dragon Hammer 90

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 Dragon Hammer 1990

Exercise DRAGON HAMMER 90

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Solid Shield 89

Exercise SOLID SHIELD 89 - May 1989

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan with OV-10 Bronco on the flight deck

Underway with OV-10 Bronco’s on the flight-deck - January 1987

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Underway - January 1987

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan LPD-13 USS Nashville

Underway - January 1987

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan NATO exercise Northern Wedding 86

NATO exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Northern Wedding 86

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 exercise Northern Wedding 1986

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan NATO exercise 1986

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Northern Wedding 1986

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan NATO exercise

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Mk-25 box launcher for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan off Norway 1986

Off Norway - Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - September 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan Northern Wedding 1986

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

USS Saipan LHA-2

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Northern Wedding 1986

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING 86 - August 1986

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan flight deck

1982

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan

1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Display Determination 1981 NATO

NATO Exercise DISPLAY DETERMINATION 81 - October 1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan NATO exercise Display Determination 81

NATO Exercise DISPLAY DETERMINATION 81 - October 1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan well deck 1981

NATO Exercise DISPLAY DETERMINATION 81 - September 1981

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 display determination 1981

NATO Exercise DISPLAY DETERMINATION 81 - September 1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Ocean Venture 1981

Exercise OCEAN VENTURE 81 - September 1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Ocean Venture 81

Exercise OCEAN VENTURE 81 - September 1981

 

USS Saipan LHA-2 ocean venture 1981

Exercise OCEAN VENTURE 81 - September 1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan exercise Ocean Venture 1981

Exercise OCEAN VENTURE 81 - September 1981

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan off Massachusetts 1980

off Massachusetts - 1980

 

 

Saipan (15° 7’ 48.00” N / 145° 41’ 60.00” E)

 

Saipan Mariana Islands map  Saipan Island Mariana us marine corps landing 1944

 

 

Namesake & History:

The Battle of Saipan - Mariana Islands (June 15, 1944 – July 9, 1944):

 

The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June 1944 to 9 July 1944. The American 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions and 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith defeated the 43rd Division of the Imperial Japanese Army commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito.


Background

In the campaigns of 1943 and the first half of 1944, the Allies had captured the Solomon Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Papuan peninsula of New Guinea. This brought the Allies up against the main Japanese defense line in the Pacific: the Caroline Islands, Palau Islands and Mariana Islands, occupied by the Japanese since the end of World War I and heavily fortified.

The Allies embarked on two campaigns to break this line: General Douglas MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area command advanced through New Guinea and Morotai toward the Philippines. Admiral Chester Nimitz's Pacific Ocean Areas command attacked the Mariana Islands. The selection of the Marianas as a target was influenced by the introduction of the new B-29 Superfortress long-range bomber. If the Marianas were in Allied hands, then Tokyo would be well within its range of 1,500 miles (2,400 km).

The Japanese were expecting an attack somewhere on their perimeter - though an attack on the Caroline Islands was thought most likely. To reinforce and supply their garrisons, they needed naval and air superiority, so Operation A-Go, a major carrier attack, was prepared for June 1944.


Battle

Bombing of Saipan began on June 13, 1944. Fifteen battleships were involved, and 165,000 shells were fired. Seven modern fast battleships delivered 2,400 sixteen-inch shells, but to avoid potential minefields fire was from a distance of 10,000 yards or more, and crews were inexperienced in shore bombardment. The following day the eight pre-Pearl Harbor battleships and eleven cruisers under Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf replaced the fast battleships but were lacking in time and ammunition.

The landings began at 07:00 on June 15, 1944. More than 300 LVTs landed 8,000 Marines on the west coast of Saipan by about 09:00. Careful Japanese artillery preparation - placing flags in the bay to indicate the range - allowed them to destroy about 20 amphibious tanks, but by nightfall the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions had a beachhead about 6 miles (10 km) wide and 1/2 mile (1 km) deep. The Japanese counter-attacked at night but were repulsed with heavy losses. On June 16, units of the U.S. Army's 27th Infantry Division landed and advanced on the Aslito airfield. Again the Japanese counter-attacked at night. On June 18 Saito abandoned the airfield.

The invasion surprised the Japanese, who had been expecting an attack further south. Admiral Toyoda Soemu, commander-in-chief of the Japanese Navy, saw an opportunity to use the A-Go force to attack the U.S. Navy forces around Saipan. On June 15, he gave the order to attack. But the resulting battle of the Philippine Sea was a disaster for the Imperial Japanese Navy, which lost three aircraft carriers and hundreds of planes. The garrisons of the Marianas would have no hope of resupply or reinforcement.

Without resupply, the battle on Saipan was hopeless for the defenders, but the Japanese were determined to fight to the last man. Saito organized his troops into a line anchored on Mount Tapotchau in the defensible mountainous terrain of central Saipan. The nicknames given by the Americans to the features of the battle - "Hell's Pocket", "Purple Heart Ridge" and "Death Valley" - indicate the severity of the fighting. The Japanese used the many caves in the volcanic landscape to delay the attackers, by hiding during the day and making sorties at night. The Americans gradually developed tactics for clearing the caves by using flamethrower teams supported by artillery and machine guns.

The operation was marred by inter-service controversy when Marine General Holland "Howling Mad" Smith, unsatisfied with the performance of the 27th Division, relieved its commander, Army General Ralph C. Smith.

Navajo codetalkers played a key role in directing naval gunfire onto Japanese positions.

By July 7, the Japanese had nowhere to retreat. Saito made plans for a final suicidal banzai charge. On the fate of the remaining civilians on the island, Saito said, "There is no longer any distinction between civilians and troops. It would be better for them to join in the attack with bamboo spears than be captured." At dawn, with a group of a dozen men carrying a great red flag in the lead, the remaining able-bodied troops - about 3,000 men - charged forward in the final attack. Amazingly, behind them came the wounded, with bandaged heads, crutches, and barely armed. The Japanese surged over two battalions of American troops, killing or wounding 650 of them. But by 16:15 on July 9, Admiral Turner announced that Saipan was officially secured. Saito, along with commanders Hirakushi and Igeta, committed suicide in a cave.

Many hundreds of Japanese civilians committed suicide in the last days of the battle, some jumping from "Suicide Cliff" and "Banzai Cliff". Efforts by U.S. troops to persuade them to surrender instead were mostly futile. Widespread propaganda in Japan portraying Americans and British as "devils" who would treat POWs barbarically, deterred surrender.

In the end, about 22,000 Japanese civilians died. Almost the entire garrison of troops on the island - at least 30,000 - died. For the Americans, the victory was the most costly to date in the Pacific War. 14,111 Americans were killed, wounded, or missing in action out of 71,000 who landed.

 

Today Saipan is the largest island and capital of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean (15°10’51”N, 145°45’21”E) with a total area of 115.39 km² (44.55 sq mi).

 

USS Saipan (LHA 2):

Saipan was laid down on July 21, 1972 by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi; launched on July 18, 1974; sponsored by Mrs. J. William Middendorf II, wife of Secretary of the Navy Middendorf.

Saipan’s operational career began in July 1979 when she was diverted from Fleet Refresher Training to Special Contingency Operations for possible non-combatant evacuation of American personnel from Nicaragua during that country’s civil war.

From February to April 1980 the Saipan was involved in 'ANORAK EXPRESS 80'. The Navy crew of around 800 and an entire Marine battalion of over 2000 sailed from Norfolk to Norway.

In May 1980, Saipan was underway to augment U.S. Coast Guard efforts to assist Cuban refugees crossing the Straits of Florida to the United States. On August 25, 1980, Saipan departed Norfolk for the first Mediterranean deployment by an LHA.

On September 3, 1981, Saipan deployed for her second tour in the Mediterranean Sea. During that deployment, Saipan visited or operated in seven different countries on three continents.

From August 1982 through July 1983, Saipan was in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her first scheduled complex overhaul. In September 1983, while undergoing Refresher Training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Saipan was diverted to participate in Operation Urgent Fury off Grenada.

In January 1985, Saipan departed for her third Mediterranean deployment. She steamed more than 32,000 miles (60,000 km), logged over 6,700 safe aircraft landings and visited ports in three countries.

Following a four-month restricted availability in Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Saipan sailed to Guantanamo Bay to complete various training evolutions.

On August 17, 1986, Saipan departed on its fourth Mediterranean deployment. Extended briefly in the Eastern Mediterranean for contingency operations, Saipan returned to Norfolk on February 24, 1987.

Starting at the end of October 1987 , Saipan was in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for major refitting.

From March 1990 through September 1990, Saipan was deployed to the Mediterranean and conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations, evacuating 1,600 civilians from war-torn Liberia in support of Operation Sharp Edge.

From September 1991 to March 1992, Saipan deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm.

Saipan again deployed to the Mediterranean in March 1993 in support of Operation Deny Flight and Operation Provide Promise. The ship returned in September 1993 and began her third scheduled complex overhaul in April 1994.

In June 1996, Saipan deployed to the Mediterranean and participated in Operation Decisive Endeavor and various multi-national training exercises. She returned to Norfolk in December 1996.

Saipan departed on her seventh deployment to the Mediterranean in July 1998. The ship spent substantial operating time in the Adriatic Sea due to turmoil in Albania.

In 1999, Saipan became the developmental and operational test platform for the V-22 Osprey aircraft.

In July 2000, Saipan began her eighth Mediterranean deployment. The ship commenced Adriatic presence operations during the Fall of 2000 federal elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

On February 12, 2001 Saipan entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for its fourth scheduled complex overhaul.

On January 10, 2002 Saipan was deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terrorism.

From late January 2005 until early March 2005 Saipan was on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Southern Command (NAVSO) area of responsibility in support of New Horizons, the humanitarian assistance efforts in Haiti.

During the week of June 26, 2005 Saipan was one of two American military vessels (the other being the USCGC Eagle) to participate in the Royal Navy International Fleet Review in the waters off of Portsmouth, England. This review, conducted by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family, consisted of a parade of more than 166 ships from around the world. This event also coincided with the 2005 International Festival of the Sea and Trafalgar 200 celebration.

On May 2006, Saipan sailed for the Mediterranean to take part in multi-national training exercises (Operation Phoenix Express) involving the countries of Spain, Morocco, and Algeria. She returned to Norfolk in July 2006.

From August 16, 2006, Saipan deployed to the Persian Gulf reigon in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for her final operational deployment. She returned to Norfolk on December 22, 2006.

Saipan was decommissioned on April 20, 2007 at its home port in Naval Station Norfolk. It will be used for weapons effect testing, providing vital information on structural integrity and survivability which will assist in the designing and planning of future ships. After the tests have been conducted, it will be transferred to the inactive fleet.

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan was sold for scrapping to International Shipbreaking, Brownsville, Texas on September 30, 2009.

 

patches

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan patch crest insignia   USS Saipan LHA-2 crest insignia patch

 

LHA-2 USS Saipan cruise patch 1996   LHA-2 USS Saipan cruise patch 2000

 

 

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