USS La Salle
USS LA SALLE (AGF 3) became the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship on 8 November 1994. For the past 30 years, LA SALLE has served the U.S. Navy with mobility, flexibility, and versatility. Those were the trademarks of the family of amphibious transport dock (LPD) ships from which LA SALLE hailed.
LA SALLE has made significant contributions to our nation's maritime history. Following commissioning, LA SALLE served as flagship for Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Forces during the Dominican Crisis, and participated in the evacuation of Construction Battalion Six from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1966, it became the first ship of its size to successfully recover and return a Project Gemini space capsule to Cape Canaveral. During 1969, LA SALLE served as the test platform for the prototype AV-8 Harrier Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) fighter bomber.
In 1972, LA SALLE was designated a Miscellaneous Command Ship (AGF) and assumed duties as the flagship for Commander, Middle East Force. Forward-deployed to Bahrain, and painted white to reflect the Middle East Sun, "The Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast" steamed an average of 55,000 miles annually in that role.
At the onset of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, LA SALLE assisted in the evacuation of 260 Americans and foreign civilians from Bandar Abbas, Iran. In May 1987, LA SALLE rushed to the aid of the stricken frigate, USS STARK, which was adrift and still burning following an Iraqi missile attack. LA SALLE provided crucial fire-fighting, damage control and medical aid, while serving as a central base for all functions related to the incident until USS ACADIA arrived on the scene in June.
The latest chapter in the LA SALLE legacy occurred when she and five other ships in the Persian Gulf were the U.S. Navy presence during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Over the course or Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, LA SALLE assumed the added responsibility of controlling and coordinating the Maritime Intercept Force, and served concurrently as flagship for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command. On 12 March 1991, LA SALLE became the first United States Navy warship to enter the newly liberated port of Ash Shuaybah, Kuwait. Prior to assuming the role of Sixth Fleet flagship, LA SALLE underwent an extensive yard period to upgrade its capabilities.
As a forward-deployed unit, LA SALLE's primary mission is to provide flagship facilities and support to Commander. Sixth Fleet (COMSIXTHFLT), and his embarked staff.
LA SALLE assumed the role of flagship for the U.S. Sixth Fleet on 8 November 1994, bringing expanded capabilities to the Fleet. With the ability and space available to embark a Joint Task Force staff when necessary, LA SALLE greatly increases the flexibility of the U.S. Sixth Fleet Commander and his staff. Additionally, LA SALLE has been outfitted with state-of-the-art communication, command and control electronic equipment. Any operation or exercise involving sea, air, land, and amphibious forces can be controlled and directed from the flagship while at sea or in port. This further increases the U.S. Sixth Fleet's capability to respond to crisis or contingency operations.
Builder: New York Naval Shipyard
Length: 521 Feet
Beam: 84 Feet
Launched: 3 August 1963
Draft: 21 Feet
Commissioned: 22 February 1964
Displacement: (FULL LOAD) 13,900 Tons
Propulsion: De Laval Steam Turbines - Twin Shafts
Propellers: 2 (Combined 24,000 SHP)
Speed: 20 Knots (sustained)/21.6 Knots (maximum)
Armament: 2 20MM MK 16 Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems
Complement: Ship's Company - 420 Enlisted/25 Officers, Staff - 90 Enlisted/48 Officers