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Ship’s History - USS Nassau LHA4

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USS Nassau is the fourth of the Navy's Tarawa-class general purpose assault ships. Like her sister ships, she integrates complex weapons systems, automated cargo handling, and state-of-the-art propulsion into a huge hull, forming a ship with a wide range of mission capabilities, including amphibious warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, and power projection ashore, utilizing helicopters and Very Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL) Aircraft.
LHA 4 was commissioned at Pascagoula, Mississippi, on July 28, 1979.



USS Nassau in 1979

In October 1979 the amphibious assault ship deployed to reinforce the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and earned the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, just 70 days after commissioning.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1980

After completing her Final Contract Trials Nassau got underway for a “show the flag” cruise in the Caribbean. During the bulk of this, she served as the flagship for Admiral Harry S. Train CINCLANTFLT. The balance of the year saw the ship entering the yards at NNSY for Post Shakedown Availability.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1981

In April 1981 LHA 4 departed for a short-notice Mediterranean deployment, and was underway for 68 consecutive days, standing ready to effect the evacuation of U.S. citizens from Lebanon.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1982

In January 1982 she deployed to the Mediterranean Sea/Indian Ocean and participated in four amphibious operations. Returning to Norfolk in June, she then departed in August to take part in NATO Exercises Bold Guard and Northern Wedding in northern Europe.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1983

In 1983, USS Nassau participated in the annual amphibious Exercise Solid Shield. Marine Corps OV-10 "Bronco" aircraft landed for the first time on the flight deck of a ship from the Atlantic Fleet. In August, she embarked Army personnel for transport to Central America for Exercise Ahuas Tara II (the "Big Pine"). The transit marked the first time the ship had transported Army units for military exercises.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1984

In January 1984, Nassau deployed to northern Europe for Teamwork 84, and then to the Mediterranean for duties off Lebanon. She returned to Norfolk in August and completed an extensive ship repair availability.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1985

In the spring of 1985 the Nassau served as flagship for Exercise Universal Trek, highlighted by an amphibious landing in Honduras. She participated in her second Solid Shield amphibious exercise that same year. She closed a busy year with participation in NATO Exercise Ocean Safari '85 in the North Atlantic.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1986

In February 1986 USS Nassau entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where she began a 10-month complex overhaul. During spring and summer, the ship and crew began an intensive series of repair availabilities and training periods, including flight deck qualifications for the AV-8B "Harrier" VSTOL jet aircraft. She then finished Refresher Training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, three days ahead of schedule.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1987

On September 29, 1987 LHA 4 departed Naval Station Norfolk as flagship of Marine Amphibious Readiness Group (MARG) 4-87. In the ensuing six months, she participated in five amphibious assaults, including Exercise African Eagle with U.S. Air Force and Royal Moroccan Forces. Her crew members also participated in numerous goodwill projects, including the repainting of nursing homes in Israel and France, replanting 7,000 trees on a fire-ravaged hillside in France, blood donations in Spain, and hosting orphan visits throughout the Mediterranean. Her crew members appeared twice on the NBC "Today Show," featuring their goodwill efforts. She returned to home-port after this highly successful deployment on March 29, 1988.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1988

USS Nassau passed a vigorous INSURV inspection in June and, in August, she departed for Teamwork 88, acting as flagship for Commander, Amphibious Strike Force/Commander, Amphibious Group Two and Commander, Marine Striking Force Atlantic/4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Returning from Teamwork in mid-October, she departed Norfolk in early November en route to Kingston, Jamaica, with 81,000 lbs. of relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Gilbert. During the transit, she rescued 172 Haitian nationals from an unseaworthy craft, and delivered them over to the Coast Guard for medical treatment.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1989

USS Nassau was underway again in early February for operations in the Caribbean; operations which ultimately resulted in supporting a drug summit meeting between President Bush and the leaders of three South American countries to discuss the worldwide peril of international drug trafficking. For almost a month, her Sailors and Marines supported elements of the White House staff.

As flagship of Marine Amphibious Ready Group 2-89 with Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eight embarked, LHA 4 departed Norfolk on May 30, 1989 and arrived at Naval Base Rota, Spain on June 12, and "assumed the watch" for the amphibious forces of the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

The Nassau departed Haifa, Israel, in late July, only days after the Israeli abduction of Sheik Abdul Obeid from Lebanon, which would prove a catalyst for the ship and it's crew. For the next 30 days, the Nassau and most of the U.S. Sixth Fleet stood ready for almost any contingency.

She then participated in Exercise Display Determination 89. After conducting amphibious training operations in the country of Turkey, Nassau headed west and out of the Mediterranean. She arrived at Lisbon, Portugal, for a brief repair period before taking part in the Portuguese Marine and Naval Exercise Galera '89.

As a result of their successes throughout 1989, she was selected by Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic as the top LHA for the Battle Efficiency competitive cycle, earning the ship her second Battle "E" in her ten years of commissioned service.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1991

In support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Nassau deployed for eight-and-a-half months to the Middle East on only eight days notice. After mobilizing and on-loading the 4th Marine Expeditionary Battalion in record time, the Nassau left the US as flagship for the Commander of the Amphibious Task Force and the 4th MEB's Commanding General. On Feb. 21, 1991, Marine AV-8Bs conduct bombing runs off the flight deck of USS Nassau. This is the first time in history that Marine AV-8B jump jets conducted combat missions from a helicopter assault ship.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1992

LHA 4 again demonstrated its capabilities during the NATO Exercise "Teamwork" in March 1992. She embarked more than 1000 Sailors and Marines and acted as the flagship for both COMPHIBGRU Two and the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

USS Nassau in 1993

USS Nassau completed a twelve month $115 million Complex Overhaul in September 1993, which included the installation of the RAM missile system and major communication improvements.

During Operation Support Democracy, she served as flagship for Commander Joint Task Force-120. Within hours of notification, Marine troops, helicopters and landing craft from Marine Forces Caribbean embarked aboard the assault ship in order to support U.S. and U.N. policy toward Haiti.

USS Nassau in 1994

In April, Nassau played a pivotal role in the largest joint exercise ever conducted by CINCLANTFLT - Agile Provider '94. While deployed to the Mediterranean from November 1994 to April 1995, she operated in the Adriatic Sea five times in support of Operation Sharp Guard, Deny Flight, and Provide Promise as the Combat Search and Rescue element. She also conducted bilateral and multilateral exercises with Spain, Morocco, Italy, France, Greece, and Israel in support of U.S. Foreign policy. Following the deployment as part of Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG 95-1), she provided exceptional support to US Navy public relations objectives.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1996

In January 1996 LHA 4 broke away from a pier mooring at Naval Station Norfolk in a wind gust front of approx. 73 knots and struck Pier Charlie and a civilian tugboat. No information about the damage. In February the amphibious assault ship arrived in New Orleans to participate in the Mardi Gras celebration. While returning to Norfolk, she was diverted to waters off the Cuban coast in support of Operation Sentinel Lifeguard to aid in search and rescue efforts for a civilian plane that was shot down in international waters.

In May she was a key player in the execution of the largest amphibious warfare exercise since World War II - Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) Exercise Purple Star. She participated in this exercise with units from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as British ships and Marines.

November 25, USS Nassau departed on Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG 97-1) deployment. While deployed, she participated in Operation Silver Wake, the noncombatant evacuation of Albania. Her team evacuated over 800 personnel from 22 different countries. While off the coast of Albania, she rescued 85 refugees from two vessels in distress.

While off station in Albania, she was ordered to redeploy to the coast of Zaire in support of Operation Guardian Retrieval, steaming the 5123 nautical miles at a continuous 20 knots. Nassau remained on station for approximately one month in support of this operation, returning to Norfolk in May 1997. In July the Nassau was one of the four ships in Norfolk that hosted the fourth annual Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) '97.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 1998

In June 1998, she was part of one the largest combined military exercises of this year. As a visiting force of Allied countries, Canada and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, she conducted exercises focused on multi-national peace enforcement operations during Maritime Commanders Operational Training (MARCOT)/Unified Spirit '98.

In November 1998 LHA 4 departed on Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG 99-1) deployment.

USS Nassau in 1999

The MARG 99-1 deployment continued until May with participation in numerous operations. She then entered NNSY for an extensive overhaul during her twentieth year in commission.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 2000

The USS Nassau ARG left home-port on November 28, 2000. The deployment was highlighted by extensive operations and exercises throughout the Mediterranean, to include contingency duties as the US 6th Fleet Theater Amphibious Force. With the 22nd MEU embarked, the ARG/MEU team participated in several international exercises, to include an amphibious exercise with the Spanish navy; live-fire exercises in Capo Teulada, Sardinia; and Exercise Atlas Hinge 2001 in Tunisia. The ARG returned to home-ports in May 2001.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 2001

Nassau began the year Brindisi, Italy which was followed by port calls to Valletta, Malta; Palma, Spain; Cartagena, Spain; Toulon, France; Taranto, Italy; Valletta, Malta (again); Rijeka, Croatia; Rota, Spain; Earle, New Jersey (!); and finally none other than NNSY in Portsmouth, Virginia.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 2002

August 26, 2002 USS Nassau, along with 24th MEU, departed Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 2003

May 29, 2003 USS Nassau returned from a nine-month deployment in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. After the ships embarked the Marines of 24th MEU (SOC) at Camp Lejeune, N.C., they joined 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, where the Marines participated in operations in Kosovo. After the Marines returned, the amphibious assault ship transferred to the 5th Fleet, where the Marines again deployed for exercises in Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates. In February the ship's crew received their first deployment extension. After the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 20, again received word that the ship would remain in the Arabian Gulf longer than scheduled, and that the Marines were needed ashore to join coalition forces fighting in Iraq. The ship departed from Kuwait April 30 to begin its return voyage.   Read More (opens a pdf in a new window)

USS Nassau in 2004

More than nine months after having entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an extended repair availability, USS Nassau completed sea trials April 2-4, 2004 and is once again berthed at Naval Station Norfolk.

June 2004, LHA 4 is currently serving as Flagship for Commander, Task Force 952, during Operation Blinding Storm, a multi-national amphibious exercise conducted off the coast of Georgia.

USS Nassau in 2005

February 2, 2005 USS Nassau is currently conducting Joint Shipboard Weapons and Ordnance (JSWORD) training off the coast of North Carolina. The JSWORD exercise provided an excellent opportunity for Army and Navy ordnance personnel to work together in a joint training environment. She returned to Norfolk Feb. 5.

March 23, LHA 4 is currently conducting routine trainings in Atlantic Ocean.

April 11, The amphibious assault ship departed for Expeditionary Strike Group Integration exercise with elements of the 22nd MEU.

May 5, More than 2,000 Sailors of the USS Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) departed their home-port in Norfolk, Va., to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in support of exercise New Horizons (NH) in Haiti. With NH concluding, Nassau ESG was called upon to support the recovery of forces and equipment.

May 16, LHA 4 transported, exercise New Horizons, equipment to Guantanamo Bay for cleaning and inspection after on-loading in Haiti.

May 25, The Nassau pulled into Naval Air Station Pensacola for a two-day port call to refuel and take on supplies while en route to her home-port of Norfolk.

June 27, Sailors and Marines assigned to HMM-261, VMA-223 and 22nd MEU trained together, on-board USS Nassau, for the first time during Expeditionary Strike Group Integration Training (ESGINT) in the Atlantic Ocean. LCUs were the main equipment and troop transport crafts during a nine-day underway period, which gave Sailors and Marines valuable operational training in preparation for deployment later this year.

August 17, LHA 4 is currently conducting an Expeditionary Strike Group Exercise, in the Atlantic Ocean, one of its final underway training exercises where Sailors and Marines train together in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

September 25, USS Nassau ESG successfully completed its pre-deployment Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP) integrated training exercise Sept. 20.

Expeditionary Strike Group underway Sept. 21 for their final exercise prior to deploying later this year. The Certification Exercise (CERTEX) is the culminating exercise of the MEU’s exhaustive pre-deployment training program, and marks the fourth time the MEU has conducted at-sea training alongside its Navy brethren of the Nassau Strike Group.

November 7, USS Nassau departed Naval Station Norfolk for a six-month deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

LHA 4 departed Naval Station Rota, Spain, November 21. Nassau's visit was scheduled for three days, but strong winds kept her in port an additional day, allowing for one last visit to the Navy Exchange.

November 26, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 8 passed through the Suez Canal, entering the US 5th Fleet area of operations (AO) to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) and support further tasking from the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

USS Nassau in 2006

April 1, 2006 Capt. John E. Roberti relieved Capt. Michael W. Brannon, as commanding officer of the USS Nassau, during a change of command ceremony held aboard the ship.

April 9, 2006 ESG 8 transited through the Suez Canal, marking the end of more than four months of maritime security operations in the US 5th Fleet area of operations. LHA 4, USS Austin (LPD 4) and the 22nd MEU conducted a final exercise with Djibouti prior to heading out of 5th Fleet. The exercise offered the opportunity for Marines from the MEU to conduct bilateral training while the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) practiced low altitude training and fire support functions.

April 13, Sailors of amphibious assault ship hosted a US 6th Fleet reception for hundreds of guests while anchored for a port visit to Palma de Majorca, Spain.

May 4, USS Nassau returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a six-month underway period.

USS Nassau in 2007

February 21, 2007 LHA 4 is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean testing various aspects of the ship’s combat readiness.

March 15, The Nassau is currently underway conducting training operations for Unit Level Training Assessment, Engineering (ULTRA-E) inspections.

March 28, USS Nassau departed Naval Station Norfolk to participate in a multinational combined exercise with North African and European forces during exercise Phoenix Express. The exercise will provide US and allied forces an opportunity to participate in diverse maritime training scenarios helping to increase maritime domain awareness and strengthen emerging and enduring partnerships.

May 6, USS Nassau, commanded by Capt. Martin R. Allard, returned to its home-port following a six-week surge to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

July 8, LHA 4 is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean testing various aspects of the ships combat readiness.

August 1, USS Nassau commemorated its 28th birthday July 27 during an all hands celebration while pierside at Weapons Station Earle in Leonardo, New Jersey.

August 24, The Nassau ESG departed Norfolk for their first at-sea group exercise, in preparation for next year's six-month deployment.

September 29, USS Nassau Strike Group, and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, began an Expeditionary Strike Group Integration exercise (ESGINT) on Sept. 24.

October 23, LHA 4 ESG completed the Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint (FST-J) 08-2 exercise from Oct. 9-19.

November 17, The amphibious assault ship is currently conducting deck landing qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

December 15, USS Nassau ESG successfully completed a 17-day Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX).

USS Nassau in 2008

February 20, 2008 USS Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group departed Norfolk for a scheduled underway period in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

March 10, LHA 4 departed Rota, Spain, after a three-day port visit.

March 20, The Nassau recently departed Valletta, Malta, after a scheduled port call.

March 29, The amphibious assault ship recently departed Naples, Italy, after a routine port visit.

April 9, USS Nassau is currently participating in Phoenix Express 2008, a US hosted, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional maritime partnerships and foster the ability to operate jointly, from April 8-22 in the Mediterranean. USS Nashville (LPD 13), USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) and USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) will represent the United States in this two-week exercise. Twelve other nations were also invited to participate or send representatives, to include Spain, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Italy, France, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania and Libya.

May 11, LHA 4 is currently in the Persian Gulf conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and supporting OIF.

June 18, USS Nassau transited the Suez Canal, concluding the two-month operations in the 5th Fleet AoR.

July 11, USS Nassau ESG returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a five-month deployment.

September 14, The Nassau was directed to proceed to the Gulf of Mexico Sept. 13 and take station off the Texas coast, prepared to render support to civil authorities in the wake of Hurricane Ike as needed. The amphibious assault ship was already at sea conducting routine operations, and was first directed south to operate off the Florida coast before receiving orders to move into the Gulf of Mexico. USS Ponce (LPD 15) departed today and USS Bataan (LHD 5) has been ordered to remain in a prepared-to-deploy status, ready to get underway within 24 hours, if needed.

September 27, LHA 4 returned to home-port after a week of supporting local, state and federal civil authorities in Galveston's recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

October 11, USS Nassau arrived in New York City to participate in the 100th anniversary of the Great White Fleet festivities and Columbus Day celebrations.

December 3, The amphibious assault ship departed Naval Station Norfolk for the ship’s planned maintenance availability in BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair.

USS Nassau in 2009

February 26, 2009 Capt. Ronald Reis relieved Capt. James R. Boorujy as commanding officer of the Nassau during a ceremony at BAE Systems in Norfolk.

May 8, USS Nassau returned to Naval Station Norfolk after completing the sea trials.

June 23, The first phase of Trident Warrior 2009 (TW09) started with a series of briefings for stakeholders, industry and media aboard the Nassau in Norfolk.

July 7, LHA 4 is currently off the coast of Virginia conducting deck landing qualifications.

July 25, Family, friends, distinguished visitors, plankowners, and past and present crew members gathered aboard the Nassau to celebrate its 30th birthday at Norfolk Naval Station.

August 31, USS Nassau is currently conducting initial integration exercise, with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), off the East Coast.

October 23, The Nassau departed Norfolk for a three-week Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX).

December 4, USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group is currently underway for a Certification Exercise (CERTEX), the last preparation for the scheduled deployment early next year.

USS Nassau in 2010

January 18, 2010 USS Nassau departed Naval Station Norfolk for a six-month underway period in the US 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

January 20, The Nassau ARG is being diverted from its scheduled deployment to the Middle East and is instead heading to Haiti for relief operations. The three ships were expected to sail Thursday from Onslow Bay, NC, having brought aboard the Marines and their gear from Camp Lejeune.

February 7, LHA 4 Amphibious Ready Group departed Haiti after supporting Operation Unified Response.

March 1, USS Nassau ARG relieved USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) ARG in the US 5th Fleet AoR. The three ships transited the Suez Canal on Feb. 26.

June 28, The Nassau departed Port Victoria, Seychelles, after a three-day port visit.

July 26, USS Nassau recently arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy, for a scheduled port call.

August 15, LHA 4 returned to Norfolk after a seven-month deployment.

September 21, The Nassau is currently pierside at Leonardo Pier offloading ammunition to Naval Weapons Station Earle, New Jersey.

November 16, The amphibious assault ship departed home-port for its final underway period before being decommissioned in 2011.

USS Nassau in 2011

Taps, taps, lights out about the ship


Special thanks to HM2 Mike Hozey (mid 80’s era) who put this together from various sources.
Feel free to suggest corrections and additions. We’re actively looking for the missing years’ pdfs.