The Department of the Navy will commission amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Saturday, June 30, 2001, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla.
Iwo Jima becomes the second U.S. Navy amphibious warship named to honor the participants who fought in the February 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. The first Iwo Jima (LPH 2) was built in the early 1960s as the first "keel-up" amphibious assault ship and was the lead ship of the LPH class. It was decommissioned in January 1993.
Gordon R. England, secretary of the Navy, veterans from the actual battle and former crewmembers of the first Iwo Jima will be in attendance. Gen. Michael Williams, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Zandra Krulak, wife of retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak, former Marine Corps commandant, will serve as ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
Iwo Jima is the seventh of the Wasp class amphibious assault ships. Second only to an aircraft carrier in size, LHDs embark, transport, deploy, command and fully support an expeditionary unit of 2,000 Marines. Iwo Jima can accommodate three landing craft air cushion, a squadron of AV-8B Harrier II aircraft and a full range of Navy/Marine Corps helicopters and amphibious vehicles to perform sea control and limited power projection missions.
The ship is fully equipped with command, control, communication, computers and intelligence systems for flagship command duty. The afloat capability of Iwo Jima's medical facility is second only to the Navy's hospital ships.
Iwo Jima is armed with two NATO Sea Sparrow surface missile systems for anti-air warfare protection, two rolling airframe missile systems and two Phalanx close-in-weapons systems mounts to counter threats from low flying aircraft. Six missile decoy launchers augment the anti-ship missile defenses.
Navy Capt. John T. Nawrocki of Ambridge, Pa., a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, will take command of Iwo Jima. The ship becomes a member of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet upon commissioning. Built by Northrop Grumman Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., the ship is 844 feet in length with a 106-foot beam. Two steam propulsion plants, developing a combined 70,000 horsepower, will drive the 40,500-ton ship to speeds in excess of 20 knots. Living areas for nearly 3,200 crewmembers and embarked troops include accommodations for nearly 450 female officers, chiefs and enlisted personnel.
- For more information on Wasp class amphibious assault ships, visit:
- http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-lha.html or the ship's web site at: www.spear.navy.mil/ships/lhd7/.