(LPH-9: dp. 17,000 (f.); l. 592'; b. 84'; dr. 26'7" (f.); s. 20 k.; cpl. 528; a. 8 3", 24 large amphibious transport helo; cl. Iwo Jima.)
The largest island In the Marianas group.
Guam (LPH-9) was laid down by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 15 November 1962; launched 22 August 1964; sponsored by Mrs. Vaughn H. Emory Green; and commissioned 16 January 1965, Captain N. E. Thurmon in command.
After fitting out and builder's trials, the new amphibious assault ship joined the Atlantic Fleet 21 April 1965 and sailed for Norfolk, her homeport. Arriving Hampton Roads the next day for training off the Virginia Capes, she departed Hampton Roads for underway training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Guam returned to Norfolk 5 July for intensive amphibious training. She sailed from Hampton Roads 29 November to participate in amphibious and ASW exercises en route to the Caribbean. On 10 December Guam joined the Amphibious Ready Squadron in the Caribbean as flagship for Amphibious Squadron 12. There she operated at peak readiness to protect the peace and security of the Caribbean and Central America constantly threatened by Communist aggression and subversion.
From 16 to 28 February 1966, Guam patrolled south of the Dominican Republic ready to land forces on the volatile island of Hispanola if necessary. She conducted amphibious exercises until entering Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 1 June for post shakedown availability.
She departed Philadelphia 2 August and prepared for service as the primary recovery ship for the Gemini 11 space flight. On 18 September at 0959 EDT Guam recovered Astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon 710 miles east of Cape Kennedy. From 28 November to 12 December Guam participated in Exercise "Lantflex 66", and on the latter date became flagship of Amphibious Squadron 8 and Caribbean Amphibious Ready Group. She continued this duty into 1967 prepared to land troops at any point in the Caribbean where she might be needed to protect the freedom and integrity of the Americas.