Friday, September 28, 2007

Naval Station Norfolk Bids Farewell to USS Shreveport

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin L. Burleson, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock USS Shreveport (LPD 12) was decommissioned during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Sept. 26.

Guest speaker Capt. Peter Fanta, commander, Amphibious Squadron 2, expressed his pride in the long tradition of excellence of the ship and its crew, past and present.

“The Shreveport has been through every armed conflict since the 1960’s, 24 commanding officers, seven presidents, and 12 theaters of operations,” said Fanta.

Shreveport was a significant help to Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, bringing in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, who supported the search for survivors, and aided with casualties, during the disaster. Sailors also did their part in helping clean up the St. Bernard Parish.

Some of the Shreveport’s Sailors had mixed feelings about the decommissioning.

“I had fun here, and it was an honor to serve on board, but it’s sad since it was my first duty station,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class (SW) Ricky Martinez.

The Shreveport has also maintained a history of earning awards through the years. In 1982, she earned the Navy Unit Commendation and the Navy Expeditionary Medal for spending four months off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon. In 1984, she received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for clearing mines in the Red Sea as part of Operation Intense Look. From 1990 to 1991 the Shreveport earned the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for Operational Readiness for her role in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

“It’s sad to see her go. I’m just glad I was able to be a part in the beginning and in the end,” said Norman Allen, who was an Airman Apprentice on board when the Shreveport was commissioned.

USNS Apache (T-ATF 172) will tow the Shreveport to Philadelphia, where the ship will become part of the inactive fleet, and reused for spare parts for other ships.