Complete History of the USS Duluth LPD-6

    The USS DULUTH (LPD-6), an Austin Class Amphibious Transport Dock, was commissioned on 18 DEC 1965.   USS DULUTH was the third, and last, of the "Austin’s" built at the New York Naval shipyard in Brooklyn, NY.  

    After commissioning she steamed for her new homeport of San Diego and then on to the Western Pacific and Vietnamese waters.   DULUTH deployed five times to Vietnam, the last, assisting with Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon.   A sample of later deployments are:  Beirut, Lebanon during their Civil War in 1983, assisting with the Exxon Valdez Oil spill in 1989, the evacuation of Somalia in 1994.

    Whether tasked with a routine or contingency operation, USS DULUTH performed per her motto, "Fortiter In Re (Bold in Action)".   USS DULUTH served her country for 39 years, 9 months and 11 days, until decommissioned on 28 SEP 2005.  

    After decommissioning DULUTH was assigned to the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility - Pearl Harbor.   In October 2013 DULUTH was sold for scrap and moved to Esco Marine, Inc. in Brownsville, Texas.

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USS Duluth LPD-6 Coat of Arms


About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

    The red and blue shield symbolizes the Navy/Marine Corps team of which DULUTH was a part; the single large star overhead represents the North Star, the symbol of the state of Minnesota; the five-starred diagonal band replicates the center of the center of the Great Seal of the City of Duluth, Minnesota; the large Arabic “Six” is the hull number of the ship.   The motto “Fortiter in Re” is a Latin expression translated as “Bold in Action.”

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USS Duluth Decommissioned After 39 Years of Service

By Journalist Seaman Apprentice Jay Clement

Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Austin-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Duluth (LPD 6) was decommissioned at Naval Station San Diego Sept. 28 after serving the Navy and the nation for 39 years.

Duluth has been one of the most versatile ships in the Navy, combining the functions of three different amphibious ships - dock, tank and attack cargo ships. Duluth's primary missions involved transporting ground forces with their equipment and vehicles to enemy shores.

Duluth, the second ship in the Navy to be named after the Minnesota city, has a valiant history.   The ship sailed to Danang, Republic of Vietnam, in May 1965 to operate with Amphibious Ready Group, U.S. 7th Fleet in the Vietnam War and more recently supported Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"It was the first ship I was on," said Wayne Bshara, a Sailor aboard Duluth from 1965 to 1967.   "It's hard to see such a good ship go."

Duluth also won many awards in its 39 years.   The most recent was the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Award for supporting Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) operations securing oil platforms during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The amphibious transport dock ship's last deployment ended in July 2005 after a six-month cruise to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During this deployment, Duluth also supported Operation Unified Assistance and delivered 210 tons of supplies to Sumatra and Sri Lanka in response to the tsunami that struck the area in December 2004.

"She performed extraordinarily," said Rear Adm. Christopher C. Ames, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5, one of three speakers at the ceremony.

Cmdr. Larry D. Grippin, commanding officer of Duluth, and Herb W. Bergson, mayor of Duluth, Minn., also spoke at the ceremony.

"It was an honor to work with this crew and to be part of this great ship," said Grippin, who had served as the commanding officer since March 2004.

Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Shon R. Alexander deployed with the ship twice and spent almost his whole four-year enlistment aboard Duluth.   "I have so many memories here. I'll miss it."

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San Diego (July 22, 2005) The amphibious transport dock USS Duluth (LPD 6) (right) returns to Naval Base San Diego after a 15-day underway period to Esquimalt, British Columbia and Seal Beach, Calif.   This was Duluth’s final underway period after 39 years of service.   During her last deployment she supported operations in the Persian Gulf and humanitarian efforts in Southeast Asia.   

U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Joseph Caballero (RELEASED)