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Denver III (LPD-9)


Ships seal
Caption: A Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Four One (HSL-41) flies alongside Denver during fleet operations in the Pacific, 30 September 1997. (U.S. Navy Photograph 970930-N-0000U-016, Defense Visual Information Center)

(LPD 9: displacement 16,914; length 569'; beam 105'; draft 22'; speed 21 knots; complement 493, troop capacity 900; armament four 3-inch, up to eight .50 caliber M2 machine guns, and six Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters; class Austin)

Ships seal
Caption: The ship’s seal.

The capital city of Colorado.


The third Denver (LPD-9) was laid down on 7 February 1964 at Seattle, Wash., by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co.; launched on 23 January 1965; sponsored by Ann Daniels, wife of Governor John A. Love of Colorado; and commissioned on 26 October 1968, Capt. Herbert W. Carr in command.

Denver operated initially from Long Beach, Calif., and deployed to participate in the Vietnam War (31 January–24 September 1970). Two crewmen on board U.S. flagged merchant vessel Columbia Eagle mutinied and seized their ship, and used a bomb scare (she carried 3,500 500-pound and 1,225 750-pound bombs for USAF bases in Thailand) to compel the other 24 mariners to abandon ship (14 March 1970). Coast Guard cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) responded, and Denver changed course to relieve Mellon, but Columbia Eagle reached Cambodian territorial waters before either ship could intercept her. Denver then acted as the communications relay station between the mutineers and the responding commands during the confrontation. The mutineers surrendered to the Cambodians, Denver came about (27 March), and the Cambodians released Columbia Eagle (8 April).

Denver made an extended deployment to the western Pacific and the Vietnam War, which her crewmen referred to as the “first turnaround” (25 February 1971–18 August 1972). The amphibious transport dock participated in the search for Chinese-flagged merchant vessel Wing Hing, which sent an S.O.S. and then disappeared while crossing the South China Sea. Denver recovered two lifeboats and one survivor (15–17 March 1971).

In addition, she took part in: Operations Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon, South Vietnam (18–30 April 1975); Desert Shield/Desert Storm, to defeat Iraqi aggression against the Kuwaitis (1 December 1990–28 August 1991); Restore Hope, to provide humanitarian assistance to the Somalis (in Somali waters 18 October 1993–2 February 1994); and Southern Watch, to contain Iraqi militarism (26 December 1995–23 March 1996 and 26 March–25 May 2000). The ship also participated in the filming of the motion picture Raise The Titanic (28 November–6 December 1979).

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale rocked western Sumatra, Indonesia, killing more than 750 people and triggering landslides that wiped-out villages and blocked roads (30 September 2009). Denver, with Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked, and guided missile destroyer McCampbell (DDG 85), supported international relief efforts (9–16 October). Helicopters flying from these ships delivered essential relief supplies and teams to people in remote areas isolated by the landslides.

Denver, presently forward deployed with Amphibious Squadron 11 at Sasebo, Japan, is scheduled to be decommissioned on 30 August 2014.

Detailed history under construction.

Last Edited 10/30/2013
Mark L. Evans

Published: Mon Jul 06 14:19:21 EDT 2015