A national park in southwestern Colorado. In 1906, Congress established Mesa Verde as the first cultural park in the National Parks System. This is the first U.S. Navy ship to be named Mesa Verde.
(LPD-17: displacement 25,883; length 684'; beam 105'; draft 23'; speed 22+ knots; complement 396, troop capacity 699 (800+ surge); armament 2 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, 2 Bushmaster II 30 millimeter Close-in Guns, and 10 .50 caliber machine guns; aircraft launch or recover 2 Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallions, or 2 Bell Boeing MV-22B Ospreys, or up to 4 Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knights, Bell AH-1Z Vipers, or Bell UH-1Y Venoms; class San Antonio)
Mesa Verde (LPD-19) was laid down on 25 November 2003 at Avondale Operations, New Orleans, La., by Northrop Grumman Ships Systems, Ingalls Operations; launched on 19 November 2004; sponsored by Ms. Linda Price Campbell, wife of former U.S. Senator from Colorado Ben Nighthorse Campbell; and commissioned at Port Panama City, Fla. on 15 December 2007, Cmdr. Shawn W. Lobree in command.
On a shield formed to represent an Indian arrowhead Or (dark Gold), between in chief a compass rose Azure and in base a yucca plant Proper, a stylized representation of the Cliff Palace dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans. Mesa Verde’s status as a cultural center and National Park is recalled by the shape of the shield and the representation of the Cliff Palace dwellings. The yucca, an indigenous plant and staple as valuable raw material to early Indian settlers, refers again to the region that gives LPD-19 her name and denotes hardiness and survival. The compass rose symbolizes worldwide capabilities and expertise. Gold signifies achievement and excellence.
On a wreath Or (Dark Gold) and Azure, from a plateau Vert an American bald eagle, wings displayed, grasping in dexter talons a sprig of juniper fructed of twenty-four berries Proper and in sinister talons a trident Argent. The green plateau represents the Mesa Verde region which gives the ship its name. The bald eagle symbolizes the United States; the juniper sprig it holds represents the numerous and diverse tribes that comprised the region's Indian nation. The trident denotes authority and mastery at sea.
The Navy officer’s sword, the Marine Corps Mameluke, and the enlisted sailor’s and marine’s blades symbolize the synergy between the two services. Furthermore, the placement of the swords symbolizes the leadership and direction provided by commissioned officers, combined with the strength and support of the senior enlisted cadre, forging the foundation of Mesa Verde’s crew and the Navy-Marine Corps team.
"Courage, Teamwork, Tradition"
More than 3,000 guests attended Mesa Verde’s commissioning ceremony at Panama City, Fla., on 15 December 2007. Mesa Verde -- the third ship of the San Antonio class -- will support the Marine Corps mobility triad that employs air cushion landing craft (LCAC), advanced amphibious assault vehicles and the MV-22A Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. The ship also provides improved war fighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capacity in vehicle and cargo-carrying capability and advanced ship-survivability features. (Heather Vann. U.S. Navy Photograph 071215-N-6386V-001, Navy.mil Photos)
With Cmdr. Shawn Lobree, Mesa Verde’s commanding officer, at her side, Mrs. Linda Price Campbell, the ship’s sponsor, gives the command to “bring the ship to life” during the ship’s commissioning at Panama City on 15 December 2007 (Cdr. Jane Campbell, U.S. Navy Photograph 071215-N-9909C-003, Navy.mil Photos)
After commissioning, Mesa Verde conducted her congressionally mandated Live Fire Test and Evaluation Program that required realistic survivability testing on each new class of Navy ships. She conducted the first of three shock trials successfully on 16 August 2008. Tropical Storm Fay delayed the second test until it, too, was successfully executed on 26 August. Concerns with other hurricane threats and sea conditions delayed the third shot until 13 September when she completed her third and final shock trial event off Mayport, Fla. The ship performed well and returned to Norfolk for post-trial inspection.
Mesa Verde successfully completes the first of three shock trials off Jacksonville, Fla., 16 August 2008. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David R. Quillen, U.S. Navy photo 080816-N-6031Q-001, Navy.mil Photos)
LCACs disembark from Mesa Verde’s well deck for an amphibious landing demonstration off Mayport as the ship takes part in the 50th annual United International Antisubmarine Warfare (UNITAS) multinational exercise. The two-week evolution includes realistic scenario-driven training opportunities such as live-fire exercises, shipboard and maritime interdiction operations and special warfare, 25 April 2009. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick Grieco U.S. Navy Photograph 090425-N-4879G-088, Navy.mil Photos)
Mesa Verde deployed as part of the Bataan (LHD-5) Amphibious Ready Group, along with the amphibious assault ship Bataan and the dock landing ship Whidbey Island (LSD-41) on 23 March 2011, three months ahead of schedule, in support of NATO-led Operation Unified Protector that enforced United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 that imposed sanctions on the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi. NATO forces were to implement an arms embargo, a no-fly zone, and protect the Libyan citizenry by all means short of occupying Libyan territory.
Mesa Verde transits the Suez Canal as part of the Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group supporting maritime security and theater security cooperation operations in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility, 26 February 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky, U.S. Navy Photograph 100226-N-1082Z-016, Navy.mil Photos)
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 230,000 people, on 12 January 2010. The U.S. initiated Operation Unified Response—humanitarian aid to victims. Mesa Verde worked with 22 other Navy ships and 10 Coast Guard ships during Unified Response (27 January–9 February).
Mesa Verde off the coast of Haiti as the ship and her embarked marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24th MEU) support Operation Unified Response in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck that country on 12 January 2010. (U.S. Marine Corps Photograph 100123-M-7448P-006, Navy.mil Photos)
On 10 February 2013 in the Gulf of Mexico, Mesa Verde launched a RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System (STUAS) for its first flight at sea. The STUAS completed four fly-bys around the ship before recovering with the STUAS Recovery System (SRS), a cable apparatus the aircraft latches onto for recovery. The STUAS completed three months of land-based trial flights at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., before launching from Mesa Verde. With that test launch Mesa Verde reached a historic milestone for the future of unmanned aircraft launching from ships in the Navy.
Sailors and marines participate in a swim call off Mesa Verde’s stern gate in the Arabian Sea to celebrate the 121st birthday of the chief petty officer rank. Mesa Verde, part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU), deployed in support of maritime security and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility, 1 April 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith, U.S. Navy Photograph 140401-N-BD629-069, Navy.mil Photos)
Sailors participate in joint visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training with members of the Croatian and Slovenian navies on board Mesa Verde, during a scheduled port visit on 7 October 2014, as the ship was operating as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith, U.S. Navy photo 141007-N-BD629-014, Navy.mil Photos)
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Operation Unified Protector (Libya and Tunisia) - 1 Apr – 31 Oct 11)
National Defense Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal - (Operation Unified Response) Joint Task Force (JTF) Haiti
Detailed history under construction.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
30 September 2015