Historic site in Virginia; honors the Virginia estate of that name, that is steeped in American history. Nathan Burwell of Carter’s Grove built his country mansion on 8,000 acres in the lower Shenandoah Valley near the present town of Winchester. The house took two years to build, 1790-1792, and Burwell named it after his great-grandfather, Robert “King” Carter. He chose a commanding site in a grove near a good spring. The clearing for the building still left a fine body of oak and walnut timber, which remains today. The panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River still thrills visitors. The mansion was used alternatively as headquarters for the Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War. The family silver and other valuables were hidden in a secret space between the roof and the ceiling of a single story wing to escape theft. Burwell donated two acres of his land for a chapel where several notables are buried. Among those laid to rest there are Edmond Randolph, the first Attorney General of the United States, novelist John Esten Cooke, and the poet Philip Pendleton Cooke.. One previous ship, Carter Hall (LSD-3) bore that name. She earned six battle stars for her World War II service and five battle stars for her service during the Vietnam War.
(LSD-50: displacement 11,587 (light) 16,599 (full); length 610’; beam 84’; draft 20’; speed 20+ knots; complement 419, troop capacity 402 (504 surge); armament 2 25mm MK 38 Machine Guns, 2 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts, 6 .50 cal. machine guns; 2 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Mounts; 2 Landing Craft, Air Cushion; flight deck for 2 rotary-wing aircraft; class Harpers Ferry).
Carter Hall (LSD-50) was laid down 11 November 1991 at Avondale Shipbuilding, New Orleans, La.; launched on 2 October 1993; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Howard, wife of J. Daniel Howard, Undersecretary of the Navy; commissioned at New Orleans on 30 September 1995, Cdr. Rand D. LeBouvier in command.
The colors of the field, red, white, and blue, stand for the United States. The saltire recalls the heritage of the South in the history of the Carter Hall, Virginia. The anchor represents the Navy. The tines are in the form of pheons, symbolizing the mission of support to assault operations. The loose rope intertwined with the anchor signifies freedom. The border denotes unity. Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy; red for courage, white for integrity.
The griffin denotes courage and vigilance. The crown refers to the heritage of Carter Hall, recalling the great-grandfather of its builder, known as "King" Carter. The battle stars of the first Carter Hall (LSD-3) are commemorated by the arc of battle, six blue for her service in World War II and five gold for her service in Vietnam. The motto is underscored by the olive branch for peace and oak for war. Gold is for excellence and red for courage.
The arms are emblazoned on a white oval enclosed by a blue collar edge on the outside with a gold rope and bearing the inscription "USS CARTER HALL" at the top and "LSD 50" at the bottom in gold.
The crossed swords of the Navy and Marine Corps Officers attest to the Navy/Marine Corps teamwork and leadership that are foundation and key elements for accomplishing Carter Hall's amphibious warfare mission.
"WORKING FOR PEACE, READY FOR WAR."
Carter Hall made her maiden deployment to the Mediterranean Sea on 29 April 1997.
The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), Iwo Jima (LHD-7), Nashville (LPD-13), and Carter Hall, deployed on 4 March 2003 in support of the Global War on Terrorism and made a best speed transit to the Arabian Gulf. During the deployment, all three ships in the ARG deployed Marines in Iraq. The ARG's support of operations in Iraq was cut short in August, when they were ordered from the Arabian Gulf to Liberia to support peacekeeping efforts. Once on station, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit/Special Operations Capable provided a stabilizing presence, which allowed multinational forces from other Western African countries to conduct humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in and around Liberia’s war-torn capital of Monrovia. That deployment ended by 30 September. Carter Hall pulled into Naval Station Rota, Spain on 14 October en route to Norfolk. The ship returned from deployment on 24 October.
Carter Hall (foreground) and Iwo Jima (LHD-7) steam off the coast of Liberia, 11 August 2003. (Photographers Mate 3rd Class Julianne F. Metzger, U.S. Navy Photograph 030811-N-2954M-014, Navy.mil Photos).
Carter Hall (right) performs a replenishment at sea with the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Bayleaf (A-109) while underway conducting maritime security operations in the Persian Gulf, 19 February 2006. (Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Michael J. Sandberg, U.S. Navy Photograph 060219-N-4374S-003, Navy.mil Photos).
Canadian Army Capt. Rory Macdonald, chaplain on board Carter Hall, plays the bagpipe to welcome aboard the amphibious assault vehicles and Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit during the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group composite unit training exercise, 19 July 2008. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aaron Loy, U.S. Navy Photograph 080719-N-7355L-026, Navy.mil Photos).
On 12 January 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. In response the Navy deployed the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), Bataan (LHD-5), Fort McHenry (LSD-43), Gunston Hall (LSD-44), and Carter Hall as part of Operation Unified Response, the joint military relief effort. Carter Hall arrived on station off Port-au-Prince, Haiti on 18 January. On 24 January the ship loaded more than 1,100 pallets of water, food rations and medical supplies, as well as thousands of cots and tents during a brief stop at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 10 February Carter Hall returned to Guantanamo and loaded more than 200 pallets of food and humanitarian relief supplies.
Sailors assigned to Carter Hall on load supplies at Guantanamo Bay, 24 January 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Monique Hilley, U.S. Navy Photograph 100124-N-5244H-026, Navy.mil Photos).
Carter Hall off the coast of Bonel, Haiti conducting amphibious operations as part of Operation Unified Response, 26 January 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Hendrick Dickson, U.S. Navy Photograph 100126-N-2000D-395, Navy.mil Photos).
On 29 October 2012 Hurricane Sandy struck the New York metropolitan area. Along with Wasp (LHD-1) and San Antonio (LDP-17), Carter Hall deployed in response. Carter Hall departed Naval Station Norfolk on 31 October. Sailors from all three ships and Marines embarked from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit provided support throughout the affected region. They assisted with repair of the Hoboken Ferry Terminal and the Sandy Hook Coast Guard Station; emergency clearance and restoration efforts in Staten Island, N.Y., and New Jersey's Barrier Islands; dewatering efforts at Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Staten Island, Ellis Island, and at locations in the vicinity of the World Trade Center Memorial in lower Manhattan. The ships also served as a landing platform for U.S. Coast Guard assets conducting search and rescue operations. Carter Hall returned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va. on 12 November.
Carter Hall departs Naval Station Norfolk to provide relief to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, 31 October 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary S. Welch, U.S. Navy Photograph 121031-N-KQ416-141, Navy.mil Photos)
Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons:
Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (2)
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Detailed history pending.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
21 October 2015