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USS Boxer (LHD 4)

Named for: The name Boxer comes from His Majesty’s Brig Boxer (Captain Samuel Blyth), 14 guns, encountered and captured by the U.S. brig Enterprise (Lieutenant William Burrows), 12 guns, off Portland, Maine, on 5 September 1813.

Enterprise, patrolling the New England coast to “protect the coasting trade to the eastward which has been so much interrupted by small cruisers of the enemy,” was searching the bay around Pemaquid Point when she discovered a brig getting underway that appeared to be a vessel of war, and immediately gave chase. Boxer, however, fired several rounds, and stood for the fight. Lieutenant Burrows, having identified the stranger’s strength and enemy character, ordered Enterprise to stand out to allow room to maneuver. Boxer gave chase, following Enterprise into open waters. At 3:00 that afternoon, Enterprise shortened sail and ran down, intending to draw in her enemy. At twenty minutes past three o’clock that afternoon with the ships within half pistol shot, both ships opened their batteries. The first broadside proved costly to both vessels: Captain Blyth fell almost immediately when a shot struck nearby. Not long after, Lieutenant Burrows fell mortally wounded by a cannon shot to the chest. The fighting raged for over an hour, with both ships exchanging volleys and suffering great damage. By 4:00 p.m., Boxer was a complete wreck, all of her braces and rigging shot away, her main topmast and topgallant mast hanging over the side, fore and main masts virtually gone, three feet of water in her hold, and no surgeon to tend to her wounded. As Enterprise maneuvered for a raking position, Lieutenant McCrery, having assumed command, conferred with his officers and decided to hail Enterprise and concede the battle. The ensigns, having been nailed to the masts by Captain Blyth, could not be hauled down.

The U.S. Navy never put Boxer into service. Sold in Portland, Maine, she sailed from that port for many years as a merchantman.

Ship name number:  VI

Boxer (LHD 4) is the sixth ship to be named Boxer. The first, a 14-gun brig, was commissioned in 1815 and lost on 25 October 1817. The second, a 10-gun schooner, was commissioned in 1832 and sold on 7 August 1848. The third, a blockade runner captured during the Civil War, was taken into service as Tristram Shandy but renamed Boxer on 12 June 1865. The fourth, a training brigantine, was commissioned on 11 May 1905 and transferred to the Department of the Interior on 14 May 1920. The fifth, an aircraft carrier, CV-21, was commissioned 16 April 1945; redesignated CVA-21 on 1 October 1952, CVS-21 on 1 February 1956, and, ultimately, LPH-4 on 30 January 1959, she was decommissioned on 1 December 1969.

Specifications: Include armament and major systems at time of commissioning.

LHD-4: displacement 40,500; length 844’; beam 106’; draft 26’ 6”; speed 20 + knots; complement 1174 crew plus 2070 troops; armament 3 Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) mounts, 2 8-cell Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System Launchers, 8 .50-cal machine guns and an amphibious lift equivalent of 42 CH-46s (including 6 AV-8Bs) or as a Sea Control Ship 20 AV-8Bs and 4 to 6 SH-60s; sensors: SPS-48E air search radar, Mk 23 Target Acquisition System, SPS-67 surface search and navigation radar, SPS-49(V) 9 principal air search radar, and SPN-35A close control approach radar.

Built by: Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Keel Date: 8 Apr 1991

Launched: 13 Aug 1993

Christening: 28 Aug 1993

Sponsor: Mrs. Becky Miller

Commissioned: 11 Feb 1995

Redesignated: (n/a)

Decommissioned: (n/a)

Recommissioning date: (n/a)

Strike Date: (n/a)

Final Disposition: (n/a)

Ship Insignia:


Shield: The United States is symbolized by the colors of the field and by the bald eagle, wings outspread beyond the shield to denote the scope, beyond the shield to denote the scope, beyond her own shore, of the U.S. influence for stability in affairs worldwide. The border signifies unity and cooperation. The gold has been chosen for its universal symbolism of excellence.

Swords: The Naval Officer’s and Marine Mameluke are crossed diagonally, representing strength and cooperation.

Crest: The star of six points represents all the ships named Boxer; the octagon charged with a gold star recalls the eight battle stars won by Boxer (CV 21) during the conflict in Korea, symbolized by the taeguk that bears the star; and the laurel wreath represents honor and the maintenance and pursuit of peace.

Chronology and Significant Events:

9 Feb 1995: A CH-53 from HMH-461 makes the first landing on her flight deck.

11 Feb 1995: Commissioned; her mission is to load, transport, and land troops and equipment ashore.

20 Feb-15 Mar 1995: Transit from Pascagoula, Mississippi, to San Diego, California, her homeport, via the Panama Canal.

26 Mar-2 Jun 1995: Shipyard availability, San Diego.

19 Sep 1995: Conducts first AV-8B Harrier II day operations.

2 Jan-Feb 1996: Underwent restricted availability, San Diego.

12 Mar-9 May 1996: Post-shakedown availability, Long Beach Naval Shipyard. She received major systems and equipment upgrades as well as alterations to accommodate the “Women at Sea” program. Renovated areas included the mess decks, library, barber shop, personnel and ship’s office, medical spaces, magazines, and weapons sponsons for the 25-mm chain gun.

Boxer (LHD 4) steaming with a Task Force during a routine exercise, 1996.

24 Mar-24 Sep 1997: Deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean; she participated in Operation Infinite Moonlight, and exercises Red Reef and Iron Magic.

5 Dec 1998-5 Jun 1999: During her deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, she received orders to depart from her scheduled port visit in Thailand and proceed to support of Non-Combatant Evacuation (NEO) contingency operations during the Ethiopia/Eritrean conflict. Following this evolution, she participated in numerous exercises in the Persian Gulf: Edge Mallet, Neon Falcon, and Eager Mace. She received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her operations during this deployment.

19 Aug-8 Oct 1999: Planned maintenance availability, San Diego.

30 May-13 Jul 2000: Participated in RIMPAC 2000, a multi-national exercise held in Hawaiian waters involving armed forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, and the United States.

25 Nov 2001-4 Apr 2002: Dry dock availability at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego.

Boxer anchored off Mazatlan, Mexico, 17 June 2002. Photo taken from a liberty boat by PH3 Ruth Winstead.

2 Mar-26 Apr 2003: Conducted combat operations in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1 Apr 2003: U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch, 19, captured by the Iraqis when her convoy was ambushed on 23 March 2003, was rescued from Saddam Hospital, An Nasiriyah. The daring operation by Task Force 20, including CH-46E Sea Knights from HMM-165 embarked in Boxer, CH-53E Super Stallions and Navy SEALs, began at midnight, supported by Marines from Task Force Charlie, who staged a diversionary attack to draw away Iraqi irregulars.

20 Apr 2003: Along with Bataan (LHD 5), Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Kearsarge (LHD 3), Saipan (LHA 2) and Tarawa (LHA 1), operated with 26 other ships of Task Force 51 in the northern Persian Gulf—comprising the largest concentration of amphibious power since the Korean War.

4-31 May 2003: Continued to provide support operations following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in late April.

14 Jan-29 Apr 2004: With only six-week notice, she conducted a four-month surge deployment to the Indian Ocean, supporting Iraqi Freedom II. She delivered 16 USMC MH-53E helicopters and mission essential equipment to forward-deployed USMC units ashore in Iraq.

Home Port Assignments


San Diego, California

15 Mar 1995

Commanding Officers

Date Assumed Command

CAPT Robert E. Annis

11 Feb 1995

CAPT J. Kevin Moran

2 Oct 1996

CAPT Robert C. Massey 19 Feb 1998
CAPT Stephen D. Doyle 24 Sep 1999
CAPT Michael G. Hlywiak May 2001
CAPT Thomas D. Crowley 25 Sep 2002
CAPT Thomas J. Culora 21 Jun 2004


Changes in armament and major systems (Weapons and radar/sonar equipment):

In 1996 the ship installed GAU-12, 20-mm and 25-mm Gun Pod Storage.

Major Overseas Deployments (or deployments away from home port for more than 2 months)

Date of Departure

Return Date

Detachments On Board

Area of Operation

20 Feb 1995

15 Mar1995

Caribbean, Mexico, California

16 Aug 1996

20 Sep 1996

Hawaiian waters

24 Mar 1997

24 Sep 1997

HMM-161 (R)


5 Dec 1998 5 Jun 1999 HMM-364 (R) WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf
30 May 2000 13 Jul 2000 Hawaiian waters
14 Mar 2001 14 Sep 2001 HMM-268 WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf
17 Jan 2003 26 Jul 2003 HMM-165 (SN), HMH-465 (YN) WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf
14 Jan 2004 29 Apr 2004 HMH-466 WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf

Unit Awards Received


Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal     

8 May 1997 -30 Jun 1997


20 Jan 1999 - 20 Apr 1999

1 Jul 2001 - 25 Jul 2001

 Navy Unit Commendation

4 Mar 2003 - 1 May 2003

Meritorious Unit Commendation

1 Jan 1999 - 10 Sep 2001

Navy Battle (E) 1 Jan 1995 - 31 Dec 1995
1 Jan 1998 - 31 Dec 1998
1 Jan 1999 - 31 Dec 1999
1 Jan 2001 - 31 Dec 2001
1 Jan 2003 - 31 Dec 2003
1 Jan 2004 - 31 Dec 2004


Command Histories Submitted:

 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 (C), 2004

Other Sources:

DANFS Volume II (C-F )

DANFS Volume I (Part A) & B

Boxer (LHD 4) Commissioning Brochure

Naval Vessel Register (

Naval Aviation History Office, NHC, Study, “Amphibious Assault Ship (LPH/LHA/LHD) Deployments with Marine Corps and Navy Squadrons, 1980-2002”

Navy Unit Awards Listing

Annual Review, Naval Aviation News, Jun-Jul 2004.

CNO Daily Briefs, March and September 2001

CHR, Commander Amphibious Squadron 3, 1997, 1998, and 2001

CHR, Commander Amphibious Group 3, 2001

Navy News, 23 Mar 2004, NNS040322-06 “Boxer receives 5th Battle E in nine years.”

Deck Logs, Boxer (LHD 4), March-October 1997.


CHR, Ogden (LPD 5), 1997

15 August 2005