Military Wiki
USS Peleliu (LHA-5)
USS Peleliu, October 2007
USS Peleliu in October 2007
Name: USS Peleliu
Namesake: The Battle of Peleliu of World War II
Ordered: 6 November 1970
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 12 November 1976
Launched: 25 November 1978
Commissioned: 3 May 1980
Homeport: U.S. Naval Base San Diego
Motto: "Pax per Potens"
("Peace through power")
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Peleliu COA.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 39,438 long tons full and
25,982 tons light
Length: 820 ft (250 m)
Beam: 106.6 ft (32.5 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Propulsion: steam turbine
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)
Complement: 262 officers and about 2,543 enlisted men
Armament: Two rolling airframe missile launchers,
four 25 mm Mk 38 Bushmaster gun mounts,
two Phalanx CIWS for self-defense,
five 0.50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns.
These ships were built with an offensive armament with three 5-inch rapid-fire naval guns and a defense of two Mk 115 Basic Point Defense Missile guided missile units.
Aircraft carried: (typical) Six AV-8B Harrier attack planes; four AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters; 12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters; nine CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy helicopters; and four UH-1N Iroquois helicopters
Aviation facilities: hangar deck

The USS Peleliu (LHA-5) is a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy, named for the Battle of Peleliu of World War II. Entering service in 1980, she has been deployed to the Persian Gulf on several occasions, performed an evacuation of U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, operated with the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, participated in Pacific Partnership deployments, and provided assistance following the massive floods in Pakistan in 2010. It is scheduled for decommissioning at some point in 2013–2014 and to be operationally replaced by one of the new America-class amphibious assault ships that are in planned production.

Design and construction

The Peleliu was originally to be named first the USS Khe Sanh, and then the USS Da Nang. The keel of the Peleliu was laid down in 1976 at the Ingalls Shipbuilding company in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on 25 November 1978, sponsored by Peggy Hayward, the wife of the Chief of Naval Operations at that time, Admiral Thomas B. Hayward. The Peleliu was commissioned on 3 May 1980, with Captain T. P. Scott in command.

Ship's Coat of Arms

The stars across the top of the shield represent the eight Medal of Honor recipients from the Battle of Peleliu Island in 1944. Centered is the large roman numeral "V" which represents the hull number of the ship, LHA-5. The four-point star in the "V" identifies the four functions of the landing force, and sustain their operations ashore. In the lower left-hand side of the shield is a ring which by tradition of heraldry, symbolizes the fifth born. The 1st Marine Division emblem is the constellation Southern Cross with the numeral '1' superimposed.

Operational history

The Peleliu immediately steamed southwards, and then she transited the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean. She crossed the Equator for the first time on 27 May 1980, setting a new record for time between an American warship's commissioning and her crossing over into the Southern Hemisphere. Next, the Peleliu steamed to the seaport of Long Beach, California.

Following the 17 October 1989 earthquake in the San Francisco area, a variety of Naval forces provided relief services, with a total of 24 U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command ships rendering assistance. LHA-5 Peleliu provided shelter for 300 victims and provided helicopter support.[1]

In June 1991, while she was coming back from the Persian Gulf after Operation Desert Storm, the Peleliu participated in the evacuation of the Americans at the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay, following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo. This eruption was one of the largest eruptions during in the past 100 years, and it covered a large region of the Philippines in volcanic ash. This eruption destroyed of most of the American naval base there, and also Clark Air Force Base. This evacuation included taking several patients from the maternity ward at the Subic Bay naval hospital, and hence there were several births of babies in the onboard hospital of the Peleliu.

Upon returning to her home port at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, the Peleliu went through an extensive shipyard rehabilitation including time in the dry dock. She was again underway by May 1992 and going through workups and inspections for her next WESTPAC deployment on January 21, 1994. She changed home ports to Naval Station, San Diego during this time period as well. Upon deploying with members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and following stops in Pearl Harbor and Singapore, she steamed for Mogadishu, Somalia to participate in Operation Continue Hope and Operation Quick Draw. VIP visits included Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili, COMPHIBGRU THREE, Rear Admiral James B. Perkins III, and CJTF Major General Thomas M. Montgomery, U.S. Army. Brig. General Vercauteren, USMC, visited with his deployed Marines as well. While off the coast of Mombasa, she participated in Operation Distant Runner at the border of Rwanda and Brundi. Medical and Dental Civic Action Programs(MEDCAP, DENCAP) were performed in the villages of Kipini and Witu, Kenya, provid medical and dental services to local civilians. Leaving Somalia March 25, 1994, she steamed to Perth, Australia for a much deserved port visit. On June 30, 1994 Peleliu slowed her pace home and along with ship's company, Marines of 2nd Battalion 5th Marines paused to honor the fallen off the coast of her name sake Peleliu, where 50 years prior the Marines of 1st Marine Division suffered 6,526 casualties with 1,256 killed in action against 10,138 Japanese defenders of which very few were taken alive in the Battle of Peleliu.[2] The Peleliu was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping task force from 26 October to 27 November 1999.[3]

The Peleliu departed from San Diego in August 2001 with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on board for a routine six-month deployment in the Western Pacific. She was in the port of Darwin, Australia, during the September 11 attacks. Following those attacks, the Peleliu was sent to the North Arabian Sea, and on 26 November 2001, she took the first U.S. Marines to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. After the American Taliban John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan, he was sent to the Peleliu on 14 December 2001. There he was interrogated by a U.S. Marine Corps intelligence team. While he was on board the Peleliu, Lindh signed confessions and he told his interrogators that he was not merely a member of the Taliban, but a full member of Al Qaeda.

Lindh received surgery by the senior surgeon of the Peleliu to remove a bullet in his leg, and he was also treated for frostbite on his toes.[4]

On 2 January 2004, a hostile boat was intercepted by warships at sea in the Indian Ocean, and then fifteen people were detained. An estimated 2,800 pounds (1,300 kg) of hashish was seized by American and Australian warships after the interception of a their boat on 1 January 2002 in the North Arabian Sea.[5]

The Peleliu steamed to support of the Pacific Partnership mission from 23 May through 20 September 2007. This mission included medical, dental, construction, and other humanitarian assistance programs on shore and afloat in the Philippines, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Marshall Islands. The medical personnel on board the Peleliu included teams from the U.S. Navy and ten other countries, and also from three private assistance organizations.

In 2008, the Peleliu was sent to the Indian Ocean to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and antipiracy operations. On 10 August 2008, the Peleliu responded to a distress call from a merchant ship, the Gem of Kilakari, that was being attacked by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden. That pirate attack was put to an end with no injuries.[6]

In August 2010, the Peleliu was sent to Port of Karachi, Pakistan, to use 19 of her helicopters for rescues during the massive floods in southern Pakistan, which were the worst one in the (very long) recorded history of Pakistan.[7][8] During this deployment, Captain David Schnell, the commanding officer of the Peleliu, was relieved of his command and reassigned for being "unduly familiar" with several crewmembers.

Captain Mark E. Cedrun, the chief of staff for Expeditionary Strike Group 3, replaced Captain Schnell as the commanding officer of the Peleliu.[9]

On 24 November 2010, the Peleliu returned full circle and she was berthed in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on her first visit there since the evacuation by the Navy in 1991. That deployment also included a port visit to Phuket in Thailand[citation needed].

The Peleliu returned to her home port in San Diego in December 2010, and she remains on active service in the U.S. Navy as of May 2012.

On 17 September 2012, Peleliu deployed to the C5F AOR under the command of Captain James T. Cox.[10]


  1. "A Sampling of U.S. Naval Humanitarian Operations". The Navy Department Library. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  2. USS Peleliu 1994 WESTPAC Cruise book
  3. Stevens, David (2007). Strength Through Diversity: The combined naval role in Operation Stabilise. Working Papers. 20. Canberra: Sea Power Centre – Australia. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-642-29676-4. ISSN 1834-7231. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  4. PAUL J. McNULTY UNITED STATES ATTORNEY (2 April 2002). "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs JOHN PHILLIP WALKER LINDH – CRIMINAL NO. 02-37-A" (PDF). UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT. Retrieved 1 August 2007. "On 14 December 2001, Lindh was taken from Camp Rhino to the USS Peleliu where he received the following treatment: 12 days after his US capture in Afghanistan, he was operated on by the Peleliu’s senior surgeon to remove the bullet lodged in his leg; he received daily medical treatment for the bullet wound as well as mild frostbite on his toes; he received various forms of medication including Motrin and Keflex (an antibiotic). He and his fellow detainees were advised five times per day as to the time for prayer and the brig supervisor called up to the deck to ascertain the location of Mecca so that he could advise the detainees in which direction to pray. He and his fellow detainees were provided Quorans to facilitate their prayers. He was permitted to shower twice a week and to wash his feet every day. He was given meals and unlimited water, was permitted to talk with his fellow detainees; and he was repeatedly queried by Peleliu personnel whether there was anything else he needed." 
  5. "Interrogation of Suspected al Qaeda Affiliates Lead U.S., Australian Navies to Seize More Drugs". U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs. 2 January 2004. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  6. "Navy: Amphib repels pirates". 8 August 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  7. Garamone, Jim (11 August 2010). "USS Peleliu to Provide Helos for Pakistan Relief". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  8. Shanker, Thom (11 August 2010). "U.S. Provides Additional Helicopters to the Relief Effort". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  9. Steele, Jeanette, "Navy Commander in Charge of Peleliu Is Fired", San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 August 2010.

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