A town in Pennsylvania; site of the Revolutionary War battle on 4 October 1777 where the British under General William Howe met the American forces under the command of George Washington. Subsequent to this battle the Americans withdrew to winter at Valley Forge while the British wintered in recently-captured Philadelphia. This is the second vessel named Germantown. The first was a wooden sloop-of-war built in 1846 and was scuttled at Norfolk, Va. in 1861. The Confederates salvaged her and she served in the Confederate Navy until 1864 when she was scuttled to prevent her from being captured by Union forces.
(LSD-42: displacement 11,496 (light) 16,396 (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).
Germantown (LSD-42) was laid down on 5 August 1982 at Lockheed Shipbuilding Corporation, Seattle, Wa.; launched on 29 June 1984; sponsored by Mrs. Barbara J. Kelley, wife of Paul X. Kelley, 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned on 8 February 1986, Cdr. Edward M. Kline Jr. in command.
Focused in the center of the insignia is a black eagle symbolizing the country of Germany. Early immigrants from Germany settled outside Philadelphia to form the community of Germantown. The keystone on the eagle refers to the State of Pennsylvania. The wavy form encompassed in the keystone is symbolic of a spring at the site of the Battle of Germantown. Water from the spring was used to christen the first ship named for Germantown. The eagle is armed in red and gold, referring to the Marine Corps in support of the ship's amphibious assault missions.
The scarlet and gold castle tower represents the German town of Krefeld, where the founders of Germantown originated. The two colonial-style bayonets recall the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown. The stars in the bayonets stand for the two ships named for this historical location.
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 Germantown’s amphibious warfare mission.
"FOLGEN SIE UNSEREN FUSSPUREN!"- German for "Follow in our footsteps!"-- a quote by Francis Daniel Pastorius, German scholar and original settler of the Germantown community.
Germantown on the ways just before her christening and launch, 29 June 1984 (Lockheed Shipbuilding Company, Negative Number 308-10-13 donated to Naval History and Heritage Command)
As a dock landing ship (LSD), Germantown was specifically designed to operate with the Navy’s new Landing Craft Air Cushion assault craft. She was the first of the Whidbey Island-class assigned to the Pacific Fleet.
On 1 December 1990 Germantown departed San Diego as part of an amphibious task force en route to the Arabian Gulf. The ship played a significant role during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, conducting mock amphibious assaults in the United Arab Emirates in preparation for a possible landing as part of Desert Storm. Shortly after returning from Desert Storm, Germantown shifted her homeport to Sasebo, Japan. There she operated as a forward deployed asset in the Navy’s Seventh Fleet until she was relieved on 16 August 2002 by Harpers Ferry (LSD-49). Germantown then returned to San Diego, Calif. where she underwent a $25 million overhaul.
A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) prepares to enter the well deck of Germantown (LSD-42). Fort McHenry (LSD-43) is in the background. The ships were part of the 57th commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima, 12 March 2002. (Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael B. Lewis, U.S. Navy Photograph 020312-N-9815L-001, Navy.mil Photos).
In 2004, Germantown offloaded Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) at Kuwait Naval Base as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the deployment, the ship also offloaded Marines for bilateral training in the United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, and Kenya and assisted in the rescue of eight Iraqi merchant sailors after their ship sank in the Arabian Gulf.
On her way to Naval Base San Diego following a six and a half month deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Germantown sails past downtown San Diego, Calif., 9 March 2004. (Photographers Mate 1st Class Daniel N. Woods U.S. Navy Photograph 040309-N-7949W-003, Navy.mil Photos).
Germantown deployed again in February 2006 to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom carrying Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Kuwait. She assisted Iraq in the North Arabian Gulf by responding to an oil fire on the Khwar Al Amaya Oil Terminal and by querying vessels before they entered Iraqi waters. Germantown contributed to coalition objectives by conducting presence operations throughout the Arabian Gulf before returning to her homeport in August 2006.
Sailors assigned to Germantown prepare to board an Iranian dhow after the vessel called for assistance for an injured crew member on 7 May 2006. (U.S. Navy Photograph 060507-N-0000X-102).
After intensive Unit Level and Integrated Training Cycles Germantown departed for the Arabian Gulf on 5 November 2007 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After off-loading Battalion Landing Team 1/5 of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Kuwait for field exercises, Germantown conducted maritime security operations throughout the Persian Gulf. Fifth Fleet reached out to Germantown to operate in non-traditional roles for a ship of her class; tasking her with conducting oil platform defense in the narrow Shatt-Al-Arab waterway on the Iraq-Iran border. She returned home to San Diego, CA, on 3 June 2008 and began preparations for an extended mid-life overhaul.
Upon her return, preparations began for an extended mid-life overhaul period. The ship moved to Continental Maritime of San Diego on 8 January 2008 where she remained until October 2009.
An amphibious assault vehicle carrying Marines and members of the Malaysian army in the well deck of Germantown waits to debark during an exercise in the Sulu Sea, 19 August 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Will Gaskill U.S. Navy Photograph 150819-N-SU278-063, Navy.mil Photos).
Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons
Navy Unit Commendation (2)
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3)
Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (6)
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (3)
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Detailed history pending.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
6 October 2015