Naval History and Heritage Command

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Boxer VI (LHD-4)

1995–


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

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.

The second was a 10-gun schooner launched on 22 November 1831 and commissioned in 1832. She served on the Pacific Station and in the West Indies, Africa, and Home Squadrons through her career and was sold at Philadelphia, Pa., on 7 August 1848.

The third was an English-built iron “side-wheeled” steamer and was originally known as Tristam Shanty. It measured 222 feet in length and 23 feet in width. She was used by the Confederate military to run the Union blockade during the Civil War. She was captured by the gunboat Kansas on 15 May 1864, then purchased by the Navy from the Boston Prize Court and commissioned into service as Boxer on 12 August 1864.

The fourth was an unarmed, brigantine-rigged, training ship launched at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H. on 11 October 1904 and commissioned on 11 May 1905 with Lt. Hilary H. Royall as the first Commanding Officer. From commissioning to October 1912, Boxer was stationed at the Naval Training Station, Newport, R.I. cruising the waters of Narragansett Bay training sailors. On 20 October 1912, she reported for duty at Annapolis, Md., to serve as the training vessel for the Naval Academy midshipmen. That assignment lasted until 25 June 1914 at which time she headed back to Newport to resume her former duties with the Naval Training Station. Boxer remained so occupied for the next six years. On 14 May 1920, she was transferred to the Department of the Interior for use by the Bureau of Education in Alaska.

The fifth (CV-21) was launched on 14 December 1944 and commissioned on 16 April 1945. Completed too late to take part in World War II, she was pressed into service to carry planes to the fighting with the outbreak of the Korean conflict. Boxer was reclassified CVA-21 on October 1952 and CVS-21, 15 November 1955. Boxer was decommissioned on 1 December 1969 and removed from the Navy listing on the same date. She received eight battle stars for her service off Korea.

VI

(LHD-4: displacement 28,078 (light) 41,684 (full); length 847'; beam 106'; draft 28' ; speed 20+ knots; complement 1,204; troop capacity 1,687 (184 surge); armament 2 RAM launchers; 2 NATO Sea Sparrow launchers; 3 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts; 4 .50 caliber machine guns; 4 25 mm Mk 38 machine guns; aircraft: 12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters; 4 CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters; 6 AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft; 3 UH-1N Huey helicopters; 4 AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter (planned capability to embark MV-22 Osprey VTOL tilt-rotors) and F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) STOVL aircraft). landing/attack craft 3 Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) or 2 Landing Craft, Utility (LCU); class Wasp)

The sixth Boxer (LHD-4) was laid down on 8 April 1991 at Ingalls Industries Incorporated Shipyard, Pascagoula, Miss.; launched on 13 August 1993; sponsored by Mrs. Becky Miller, wife of Admiral Paul D. Miller, USN, Commander-in-Chief, of the U.S. Atlantic Command; commissioned on 11 February 1995, Capt. Robert E. Annis in command.


Image related to Boxer
Caption: Boxer (LHD 4) steaming with a Task Force during a routine exercise, 1996

VI

(LHD-4: displacement 28,078 (light) 41,684 (full); length 847'; beam 106'; draft 28' ; speed 20+ knots; complement 1,204; troop capacity 1,687 (184 surge); armament 2 RAM launchers; 2 NATO Sea Sparrow launchers; 3 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts; 4 .50 caliber machine guns; 4 25 mm Mk 38 machine guns; aircraft: 12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters; 4 CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters; 6 AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft; 3 UH-1N Huey helicopters; 4 AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter (planned capability to embark MV-22 Osprey VTOL tilt-rotors) and F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) STOVL aircraft). landing/attack craft 3 Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) or 2 Landing Craft, Utility (LCU); class Wasp)

The sixth Boxer (LHD-4) was laid down on 8 April 1991 at Ingalls Industries Incorporated Shipyard, Pascagoula, Miss.; launched on 13 August 1993; sponsored by Mrs. Becky Miller, wife of Admiral Paul D. Miller, USN, Commander-in-Chief, of the U.S. Atlantic Command; commissioned on 11 February 1995, Capt. Robert E. Annis in command.


Image related to Boxer
Caption: 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.

After commissioning Boxer began an extensive workup period which included the ships maiden voyage from Pascagoula, Miss. to San Diego, Calif. through the Panama Canal. The bridge wing along with several other minor pieces of the ship were sheared off during the narrow transit through the Canal. Boxer arrived in San Diego on 15 March 1995. The ship carried out her first AV-8B Harrier II day operations on 19 September. Boxer accomplished her post-shakedown availability at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Calif., from 12 March–9 May 1996. 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 millimeter chain gun.

In October 1996, after minor repairs and complete system check-outs, Boxer began the workup cycle for her first western Pacific (WESTPAC) Deployment, from 24 March 1997 to 24 September. During the deployment the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) consisted of Boxer, amphibious transport dock Ogden (LPD-5), and dock landing ship Fort Fisher (LSD-40) with Commander Amphibious Squadron Seven (CPR-7) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked. The Boxer ARG participated in several joint exercises with Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Jordan during the deployment, including Operation Infinite Moonlight, and exercises Red Reef and Iron Magic. Boxer also visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Eritrea, Indonesia, and Australia.

Returning to San Diego on 24 September 1997, the ship began her first Planned Maintenance Availability and training period. In June 1998, however, Boxer departed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to participate in the Rim of the Pacific exercise, For over a month Boxer's marine assault forces conducted mock amphibious landings. Arriving at San Diego on 13 July 1998, Boxer immediately began its second work-up cycle in preparation for a second western Pacific deployment to begin in December 1998. Boxer departed on her second overseas deployment on 5 December. CPR-7 continued to serve as USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group's (ARG) embarked staff, however, the 13th MEU replaced the 15th MEU. Boxer ARG's support ships consisted this time of the amphibious transport dock Cleveland (LPD-7), and the dock landing ship Harpers Ferry (LSD-49). The Boxer ARG again participated in joint exercises with Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait during the deployment. Just days after Boxer ARG departed San Diego, the Navy launched Operation Desert Fox with attacks into Iraq. Boxer arrived in the Arabian Gulf only after the hostilities subsided, but took part in exercises Edge Mallet, Neon Falcon, and Eager Mace. The Boxer ARG was then dispatched to the Red Sea when there was a threatened war between Eritrea and Ethiopia that could require the evacuation of U.S. citizens. After 58 days underway, hostilities between the two African countries subsided and Boxer ARG was able to continue with its deployment. Boxer returned to San Diego on 5 June 1999 and a second Planned Maintenance Availability and training period.

Boxer 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, from 30 May–13 July 2000. She then (25 November 2001–4 April 2002) completed a dry dock availability at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego.

On 17 January 2003 Boxer departed San Diego Naval Station as a result of an accelerated deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of what would become Operation Iraqi Freedom. Boxer transported, offloaded and then back-loaded equipment and personnel of Landing Force West, including 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion and 1st Tank Battalion. Boxer also carried the air control elements of Marine Air Group 16, Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 465, and Heavy Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 and the combat service support element, Marine Corps Service Support Group 19.

On 1 April, Boxer crewmembers and marines were involved in the night rescue of former-POW 19-year-old PFC Jessica D. Lynch, USA, who had been captured by the Iraqis they ambushed her convoy on 23 March. The ship's intelligence specialists provided satellite imagery of Saddam Hospital at An Nasiriyah and the surrounding areas to marine pilots who staged from Boxer for the mission. 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.

On 20 April, Bataan (LHD-5), Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), Boxer, Kearsarge (LHD-3), Saipan (LHA-2) and Tarawa (LHA-1) operated with 26 other ships of Task Force 51 in the northern Arabian Gulf. Boxer steamed in the Arabian Gulf for the duration of her deployment conducting coalition air control and identification, and providing sea-based support to marine aviation units and U.S. and coalition ships in the region. Crew members also participated in mine countermeasure and small boat operations. She returned to San Diego on 26 July.

On 14 January 2004, Boxer deployed from Naval Station San Diego to support Operation Iraqi Freedom again. On 19 February Boxer arrived in the Persian Gulf and from 20–25 February offloaded aircraft, vehicles, and other equipment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 27 February U.S. Embassy officials from Kuwait visited Boxer. She delivered 16 USMC MH-53E helicopters and mission essential equipment to forward-deployed marines ashore in Iraq. On her return voyage to Naval Station San Diego the ship visited Sasebo, Japan, on 30 March. Boxer returned to San Diego on 29 April.

Boxer- departing San Diego-14Jan2004-040114-N-8273J-019
Boxer departing San Diego on a deployment to support Operation Iraqi Freedom force rotation, 14 January 2004. (Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Tiffini M. Jones, U.S. Navy Photograph 040114-N-8273J-019, Navy.mil Photos).
Boxer- returns to San Diego-29Apr2004-040429-N-3874J-003
San Diego Naval Base, Calif. (Apr. 29, 2004) - Family and friends of the crew of Boxer wait to welcome them home, 29 April 2004. (Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Daniel A. Jones, U.S. Navy Photograph 040429-N-3874J-003, Navy.mil Photos).

On 29 April 2005 Boxer deployed to support U.S. national security objectives overseas. This deployment to train with U.S. allies was a demonstration of the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark’s Fleet Response Plan. As part of this deployment Boxer and the guided missile destroyer John Paul Jones (DDG-53) arrived in Darwin, Australia in preparation for the Talisman Saber ‘05 exercise with the Royal Australian Navy. More than 80 Australian army, navy, and air force service members embarked on Boxer in Darwin, Australia, 30 May through 1 June in preparation for Exercise Talisman Saber ‘05. The Australian army and the U.S. Navy worked side by side for four intensive weeks in June during Talisman Saber. Boxer, flagship to Australian Commodore Davyd Thomas, Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC), and Rear Adm. Victor Guillory, Deputy CFMCC, completed the inaugural Talisman Saber on 27 June.

Boxer- during Talisman Saber-19Jun2005-050619-N-8146B-004
Boxer, in Shoalwater Bay, prepares to launch Australian S70A-9 Black Hawk helicopters during flight operations in support of Talisman Sabre ’05, 19 June 2005. (Photographer's Mate 3rd Class James F. Bartels U.S. Navy Photograph 050619-N-8146B-004, Navy.mil Photos).

Boxer, as part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group departed San Diego on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of global maritime security on 9 January 2009 with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Boxer ESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, New Orleans (LPD-18), Comstock (LSD-45), Coast Guard cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719), Lake Champlain (CG-57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 Detachment 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5. The 13th MEU was comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 (Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1. During this deployment Boxer was designated the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 which was conducting counter-piracy operations in the waters off East Africa. After his rescue from Somali pirates by Navy Special Operations personnel on 12 April 2009, Captain Richard Phillips of the U.S. flagged container ship MV Maersk Alabama was eventually transferred from the guided missile destroyer Bainbridge (DDG-96) to Boxer where he contacted his family and received a routine medical evaluation. The Boxer ARG returned to San Diego from this deployment on 1 August 2009.

Boxer- sunrise in the Indian Ocean-3May2009-090503-N-8283S-083
Boxer underway in the Indian Ocean at sunrise, 3 May 2009. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John J. Siller, U.S. Navy photo 090503-N-8283S-083, Navy.mil Photos)

On 23 August 2013 the Boxer ARG departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment to the Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR). Consisting of the Amphibious Squadron 1 staff, Boxer, the amphibious dock landing ship Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) and New Orleans with the 13th MEU embarked throughout the three ships. While in the Seventh Fleet AOR, the ARG participated in the bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014 in which elements of the ARG and marines from the 13th MEU trained with the Philippine Marine Corps. The ARG also participated in the amphibious staff exercise Shatrujeet with the Indian Army in Kochi, Trivandrum, and Peryakadu, India. The Boxer ARG arrived in the Fifth Fleet AOR on 12 October and relieved the Kearsarge ARG on 18 October and served as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force. During this deployment the ships of the ARG made port visits in Oman, Dubai, Bahrain and Jordan, as well as a brief visit to the 6th Fleet AOR with a port visit to Eilat, Israel. Relieved by the Bataan ARG and the 22nd MEU, the Boxer ARG and 13th MEU departed the Fifth Fleet AOR on 12 March 2014. While in the Seventh Fleet AOR the Boxer ARG cooperated with the Bonhomme Richard ARG and ships from Republic of Korea (ROK) Flotilla Five and a ROK Marine task force in the conduct of Exercise Ssang Yong 2014. The exercise concluded on 2 April. Later in April the Boxer ARG completed its deployment with its return to San Diego.

The commanding officer of Boxer, Capt. Wayne R. Brown, was relieved of command on 29 September 2014 by Rear Adm. Frank L. Ponds, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3. The relief stemmed from the results of a command investigation into Equal Opportunity concerns and was not tied to a specific event. Brown was temporarily re-assigned to Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Capt. Keith Moore, deputy commodore of Amphibious Squadron 1, temporarily assumed the duties as Commanding Officer.

Boxer ARG, along with the 13th MEU, departed San Diego to begin a Composite Training Unit Exercise, 19 October 2015. The exercise, which was conducted off the coast of southern California, was designed to assess the readiness of the Boxer ARG prior to deployment.

Boxer-in Pacific for COMPTUEX-20Oct2015-151020-N-GZ228-139
Boxer transits the Pacific Ocean in preparation for deployment, 20 October 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Monford, U.S. Navy Photograph 151020-N-GZ228-139, Navy.mil Photos).

Home Port Assignments

Dates

San Diego, Calif.

15 March 1995

 

Commanding Officers

Date Assumed Command

Capt. Robert E. Annis

11 February 1995

Capt. J. Kevin Moran

2 October 1996

Capt. Robert C. Massey

19 February 1998

Capt. Stephen D. Doyle

24 September 1999

Capt. Michael G. Hlywiak

May 2001

Capt. Thomas D. Crowley

25 September 2002

Capt. Thomas J. Culora

21 June 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 February 1995

15 March1995

 

Caribbean, Mexico, Calif.

16 August 1996

20 September 1996

 

Hawaiian waters

24 March 1997

24 September 1997

HMM-161 (R)

 

WestPac/IO

5 December 1998

5 June 1999

HMM-364 (R)

WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf

30 May 2000

13 July 2000

 

Hawaiian waters

14 March 2001

14 September 2001

HMM-268

WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf

17 January 2003

26 July 2003

HMM-165 (SN), HMH-465 (YN)

WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf

14 January 2004

29 April 2004

HMH-466

WestPac/IO/Persian Gulf

Unit Awards Received

Dates

 

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

 

8 May 1997 – 30 June 1997

20 January 1999 – 20 April 1999

1 July 2001 – 25 July 2001

Navy Unit Commendation

4 March 2003 – 1 May 2003

Meritorious Unit Commendation

1 January 1999 – 10 September 2001

Navy Battle (E)

1 January 1995 – 31 December 1995

1 January 1998 – 31 December 1998

1 January 1999 – 31 December 1999

1 January 2001 – 31 December 2001

1 January 2003 – 31 December 2003

1 January 2004 – 31 December 2004

Updated (at the time of writing) Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons

Navy Unit Commendation

Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2)

Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (6)
National Defense Service Medal

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3)

Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

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 (www.nvr.navy.mil)

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 http://neds.daps.dla.mil

“Year in 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, COMPHIBRON 7, 1997

CHR, Ogden (LPD-5), 1997

Detailed history under construction.

Christopher B. Havern Sr. and Mark L. Evans

6 November 2015

Published:Thu Feb 18 12:05:15 EST 2016