USS Belleau Wood Retires

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Jim Hathaway

Dec 18, 2004
USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) had been retired after 27 years service.
NNS051020-14. USS Belleau Wood Decommissioned After 27
Years of Service

By Journalist Seaman Ryan Clement, Fleet Public Affairs Center

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Navy said farewell as USS Belleau
Wood (LHA 3) was decommissioned Oct. 13, the Navy's 230th
birthday, at Naval Station San Diego.

Belleau Wood served the Navy and the nation for 27 years and is
the first of five Tarawa-class general amphibious assault ships to
be decommissioned.

"The Belleau Wood has been the backbone of our amphibious
group for nearly three decades," said Rear Adm. Christopher C.
Ames, commander, Amphibious Group 3, who was a guest
speaker at the ceremony.

Belleau Wood is the second ship in the Navy to bear the name. Its
predecessor, Belleau Wood (CVL 24), was a carrier and served
during World War II.

The name "Belleau Wood" originally comes from an historic
World War I battle in France where Marines took over the
Belleau woods, stopping the last major offensive of the war by the
Germans. After the battle, the Germans respectfully referred to
the Marines as "Teufelshunde," or "Devil Dogs," because of their
fierceness in battle. The Devil Dogs were the official mascot of
Belleau Wood.

The ship's main mission was Marine transport. The ship has a
well deck for deploying conventional and air cushioned landing
craft, and a flight deck for launching a variety of helicopters and
Harrier jump jets. Belleau Wood was capable of carrying a
complete Marine battalion and landing them ashore by helicopter
or amphibious craft.

Belleau Wood also received numerous awards in its 27 years of
service. One of the most important awards came in 1997 when
the ship earned its eighth consecutive Battle 'E' award. This was
significant because it was the first ship in U.S. Pacific Fleet to do

For more news from around the fleet, visit
Mar 3, 1998
The Belleau Wood was my home in Japan when she was homeported out of Sasebo. She was also the last of the ships in which I have berthed remaining on the active rolls.

Alexander Hamilton, Casimir Pulaski, Barnstable County, Ranger, Constellation, Midway, Tripoli, now Belleau Wood...all gone.

Man, do I feel old...


Jim Hathaway

Dec 18, 2004
So do I, I can remember the artist's conceptions of the new LHA Class in Proceedings.
I also remember touring Peleliu at LBNSY when she still had her 5"54s.
I think the only ship I've been aboard that is still in commission would be Los Angeles.(SSN-688)
Also have been aboard USS Los Angeles (CA-135), but she is now ash trays too- (also remember Newport News making her final deployment to Viet Nam minus her middle gun in no 2 turret, lost due to a gun explosion which also jamed the turret in train)
All good ships, now gone-
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