Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Comstock II (LSD-45)


Historic site in Nevada; the Comstock Lode discovered in 1859 was one of the richest deposits of precious metals in the world. One previous ship, LSD-5 has borne this name. Commissioned in 1945, she earned ten battle stars for her service in the Korean War, the most awarded to a ship of her type, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation and six battle stars for Vietnam War service. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel register in 1976.


(LSD-45: displacement 11,099 (light) 16,190 (full); length 610’; beam 84’; draft 20’; speed 20+ knots; complement 378, 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; 4 Landing Craft, Air Cushion or 21 Landing Craft, Mechanized-6; flight deck for 2 rotary-wing aircraft; class Whidbey Island).

Comstock (LSD-45) was laid down 27 October 1986 at Avondale Shipbuilding, New Orleans, La.; launched on 16 January 1988; sponsored by Mrs. Jan Gray, wife of General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., USMC, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned on 3 February 1990, Cmdr. Robert H. Howe in command.

45-Comstock- Coat of Arms

The wavy blue and white bars symbolize the sea and movement across the water. The shield contains an orle of billets, which represents Comstock’s ability to perform multiple missions simultaneously. There are sixteen billets, each marking one of the sixteen battle stars won by the original Comstock (LSD 19). The arrowhead denotes the thrust of the amphibious assault. The ability to drive ashore and conduct sustained combat landing operations is the hallmark of a Landing Ship Dock. The color gold, implying excellence, combined with the silver waves, illustrates the great and diverse wealth of the Comstock Lode, for which the ship is named.

The silver star commemorates the Comstock Lode in Nevada, the Silver State, and stands for the Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded to the first Comstock for service in Vietnam. It is displayed and protected by an alligator, the symbol of amphibious warfare, which is renowned for his vigilance and strength. The alligator stands on a grassy knoll characterizing the end of the mission, which often includes landing Marines and their equipment on hostile shores. The pick and shovel illustrate the hard work, tenacity and skill required to achieve and maintain excellence. The mine entrance is another reference to the Comstock Lode and the color red exemplifies courage.


The swords are representative of the cooperation of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team.


“Teamwork! Drive! Courage!”

Comstock-underway prior to commissioning-1Jan1990-900101-N-0000X-001
An aerial port bow view Comstock, underway prior to its commissioning, I January 1990. (U.S. Navy Photograph 900101-N-0000X-001 courtesy of Avondale Industries, Inc., Photos)

In December 1995 Comstock returned from an extended deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Among the highlights of the deployment were integrated amphibious operations with the Jordanian Armed Forces during Operation Infinite Moonlight.

Comstock entered dry dock on 5 February 1996 to begin a five-month Dock Phased Maintenance Availability. She returned to San Diego on 5 June and began upkeep and training which continued through September. In October Comstock embarked Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps students and made a port visit to San Francisco for Fleet Week. Comstock returned to San Diego at the end of October to resume upkeep, finishing out the year with an Intermediate Maintenance Availability in late November.

Comstock began 1997 with a Change of Command in late February. Comstock remained in the San Diego area doing operations off the coast of Southern California until mid-April when she made a port visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Comstock was in port at San Diego in a training and upkeep status from May through the beginning of August. On 28 August 1997 Comstock began her track toward the Arabian Gulf for Western Pacific deployment. Comstock made port visits to Hawaii, Guam, Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Comstock was a vital part of Exercise Eager Mace, and finished out 1997 in the North Arabian Gulf.

Comstock began 1998 in the North Arabian Gulf as part of Operation Eager Mace. On her return to San Diego at the end of her Western Pacific deployment, Comstock made port visits in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Guam and Hawaii. Comstock returned to San Diego on 27 February 1998. In April Comstock began an inspection and survey and when completed made a port visit to San Francisco. Upon returning to San Diego, Comstock began Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA) which continued from May through July. She later made port visits to Everett and Seattle, Wa. and finished out the year with a change of command, followed by upkeep and training.

Comstock began 1999 with Amphibious Specialty Training during the month of January, followed by pre-deployment work-ups. At the end of May, Comstock was en route to Hawaii to begin Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. During deployment Comstock made port visits to Hawaii, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and, Indonesia before returning to San Diego at the beginning of October. Comstock finished out the year with a post-deployment PMA period.

Comstock began 2001 with Amphibious Specialty Training and an Amphibious Readiness Group certification. In March she was en route to San Francisco for Exercise Kernel Blitz. During the months of May and June Comstock participated in a composite training unit exercise and a fleet training exercise. In mid-August Comstock was en route to Hawaii for the beginning of the Western Pacific deployment for 2001. Comstock made port visits to Hawaii, Australia, and Bahrain and was involved in supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The flight deck crew on board Comstock, in the Arabian Gulf, readies a CH-46 Sea Knight for departure, 3 March 2003 (Petty Officer Tom Sperduto, USCG, U.S. Coast Guard Photograph 030303-C-9409S-003, Photos).

As of 1 January 2002 Comstock was still engaged in the Western Pacific deployment and supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. She made port visits to Fremantle and Sydney Australia and had a change of command at the end of January. By mid-March Comstock was back in home port San Diego for post-deployment upkeep. In May and June, Comstock was dry-docked at Southwest Marine, San Diego. In July she commenced sea trials and spent August through December conducting upkeep, training, and certifications.

Comstock began 2003 with a surge deployment to the Arabian Gulf.  En route Comstock made port visits to Guam, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Hawaii and while serving as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the ship supported maritime environmental response operations. Comstock returned to San Diego in early July and subsequently conducted upkeep and training. At the end of August the ship underwent inspection and survey (INSURV). Comstock made a port visit to British Columbia, Canada in September and finished out 2003 with a change of command in October followed by upkeep and training.

Comstock- pre-deployment training-30Mar2004-040330-N-3874J-001
A Sailor on board Comstock fires a 50. caliber machine gun off during pre-deployment training, 30 March 2004. (Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Daniel A. Jones U.S. Navy photo 040330-N-3874J-001, Photos).
Comstock- departs for deployment-27May2004-040527-N-9414C-081
Comstock gets underway for deployment as part of the Belleau Wood Expeditionary Strike Group, 27 May 2004. (Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Bre' N. Cameron-Smith U.S. Navy Photograph 040527-N-9414C-081, Photos).

Comstock began 2008 with a continuous maintenance availability, a maintenance and material management assessment, and an INSURV. February through June Comstock was underway various times off the coast of Southern California for training and certifications. In June Comstock commenced the 2008 Rim of the Pacific exercise making port visits in Hawaii. Comstock returned to San Diego and during August conducted upkeep and survey and inspection preparations. Comstock finished out 2008 with an INSURV, a certification exercise, and a unit level training assessment for engineering.

Comstock-well dek pre-launch-27Mar2012-120327-N-TE662-003
Amphibious assault vehicles line up awaiting launch from Comstock’s well deck 27 March 2012. (Lt. j.g. Kevin Missel, U.S. Navy Photograph 120327-N-TE662-003, Photos).
Comstock- returning to San Diego-25Feb2015-150225-N-DH124-128
Comstock returns to Naval Base San Diego following a seven-month deployment as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, 25 February 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rosalie Chang, U.S. Navy Photograph 150225-N-DH124-128, Photos).

Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons:

Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2)

Navy Unit Commendation (2)

Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation

Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (5)

National Defense Service Medal

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3)

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (2)

Commanding Officers

Cmdr. Robert H. Howe                      3 February 1990 - 18 January 1992

Cmdr. Ward L. Harris Jr.        18 January 1992 - 11 October 1993

Cmdr. Edward W. Herbert III           11 October 1993 - 19 June 1995

Cmdr. Douglas F. Whalen      19 June 1995 - 21 February 1997

Cmdr. Gregg S. Jackson                     21 February 1997 - 25 September 1998

Cmdr. Edward Barfield                      25 September 1998 - 2 June 2000

Cmdr. Sinclair M. Harris         2 June 2000 - 6 February 2002

Cmdr. Jonathan M. Padfield  6 February 2002 - 23 October 2003

Cmdr. John J.Braunschweig   23 October 2003 - 26 May 2005

Cmdr. Paul J. Shock               26 May 2005 - 20 November 2006

Cmdr. Burt L. Espe                20 November 2006 - 1 April 2008

Cmdr. Paul Gilmartin              1 April 2008 - 2 April 2010

Cmdr. Lance L. Lesher                       2 April 2010 - 3 November 2011

Capt. John C. Ring                 3 November 2011 - 8 February 2013

Capt. Ronald L. Ravelo          8 February 2013 - 11 April 2014

Cmdr. Scott T. Tasin               11 April 2014 - 10 July 2015

Cmdr. Gervy J. Alota             10 July 2015 -  

Detailed history under construction.

Christopher B. Havern

14 October 2015

Published: Mon Mar 14 14:15:02 EDT 2016