The second U.S. Navy ship named for the city in Wisconsin.
(LST-1191: displacement 8,342 (full load); length 518'; beam 68'; speed 20 knots; complement 231; troops 430; armament 4 3-inch; class Newport)
The second Racine (LST-1191) was laid down by the National Steel & Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif., on 13 December 1969; launched on 15 August 1970; sponsored by Mrs. Edwin B. Hooper, wife of Vice Adm. Edwin B. Hooper USN (Ret.), Director of Naval History; and was commissioned on 9 July 1971, Cmdr. Daniel W. Anderson in command.
She remained at Long Beach, completing her fitting-out until 9 August 1971, when she departed for San Diego. Racine underwent tests and participated in exercises off the west coast until 8 June 1972. At that time, she steamed out of San Diego for a South American cruise with a group of NROTC Midshipmen. She visited Valparaiso, Chile; Callao, Peru; and the Canal Zone, returning to San Diego on 17 July. On 13 September, she embarked on a tour of duty with WestPac. She remained in the Far East, shuttling men and material between Vietnam and various American bases in the area, until 26 April 1973, when she weighed anchor for San Diego. Racine arrived at San Diego 17 May 1973.
Racine was decommissioned on 2 October 1993 and, lay in inactive reserve at Pearl Harbor.
U.S., Japanese and Australian forces launched a joint “attack” on ex-Racine, as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 evolutions. The sinking exercise, or SinkEx, involved land-based, air, surface and submarine units. The land-based component of the exercise included a live firing of surface-to-ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, along with the launch of a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a U.S. Army Palletized Load System (PLS) truck, and it marked the first time that ground forces had participated in a SinkEx during RIMPAC.
“As naval forces drive our enemies into the littorals, army forces can strike them,” Adm. Phil Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, explained, “Conversely, when the army drives our enemies out to sea naval firepower can do the same.”
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) provided the air component, launching a Harpoon anti-ship missile from a recently-purchased P-8A Poseidon. The attack submarine Olympia (SSN-717) fired the final shots, a sub-launched Harpoon followed by a Mk. 48 torpedo. The Mk. 48 hit the Racine amidships, breaking her keel and sinking her.
Robert J. Cressman
Updated, 18 July 2018