Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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San Antonio (LPD-17)


A city in Texas named for Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is on 13 June, by a 1691 Spanish expedition in the area. It is the second most populated city in Texas and is the home of the Alamo, the mission/fortress where the Mexican army under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna annihilated Texian forces under William B. Travis and James Bowie on 6 March 1836 after a 13-day siege.

(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)

San Antonio (LPD-17) was laid down 9 December 2000 at New Orleans, La. by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale Operations; launched on 12 July 2003 and christened on 19 July 2003; sponsored by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas; and commissioned at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, on 14 January 2006; Capt. Jonathan M. Padfield in command.

San Antonio-LPD-17-Coat of Arms


Per pale Argent and Gules, a sprig of Texas bluebonnet on dexter Proper and an olive branch on sinister Or, all superimposed by the Alamo Proper; on a chief Azure a mullet of the first. The colors of the shield and star are adapted from the Texas state flag. The star also commemorates the “Lone Star” and first ship to bear the name San Antonio. Red is the color for valor and sacrifice, blue is for loyalty and white, purity of purpose. The Alamo honors the heroes who offered their lives to ensure the freedom of Texas. The bluebonnets refer to the beauty and majesty of Texas and the olive branch highlights the ship’s peacekeeping mission.


Issuing from a wreath Argent and Gules a trident head of the first, overall in base a stack of cannon balls and nineteenth century cannon in silhouette Sable. The trident and cannon represent the old and new weaponry. The cannon balls and nineteenth century cannon were similar weapons used by the brave men that defended the Alamo. The trident, symbol of sea prowess, also represents the “mobility triad” for which San Antonio is built. The mission of San Antonio class is to transport the U.S. Marine Corps “mobility triad” – the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), Air Cushioned Landing Craft (LCAC) and vertical flight aircraft including the MV-22 Osprey – to trouble spots around the world.


Navy and Marine Corps swords saltirewise points down proper. The crossed Navy and Marine Corps swords represent cooperation and teamwork of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.


The coat of arms as blazoned in full color upon a white oval enclosed by a blue collar edged on the outside with a gold rope and bearing the inscription “USS SAN ANTONIO” at top and “LPD 17” in base all gold.


On a scroll Azure double Gules the words “NEVER RETREAT, NEVER SURRENDER” Argent.

030213-N-0000N-002- San Antonio under construction-13Feb03
San Antonio under construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Avondale in New Orleans, La. U.S. Navy Photograph 030213-N-0000N-002, 13 February 2003; Photos)
030718-N-3399W-001-San Antonio Christening-
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas, sponsor of San Antonio, christens the ship at New Orleans.(Northrop Grumman Corporation Photograph 030718-N-3399W-001; 19 July 2003; Photos)

On 24 January 2006, Cmdr. Bradley Lee relieved Capt. Padfield as San Antonio’s commanding officer at sea. Lee, a career surface warfare officer, previously served as chief staff officer for Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8. He had also served as executive officer in Harpers Ferry (LSD-49). During his tenure, he was a part of the first successful crew swaps of two dock landing ships (LSD) and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

On 11 September 2006, San Antonio visited New York to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center. The ship passed “Ground Zero” -- the site of the destroyed twin towers of the World Trade Center -- around 0800, with the sailors and marines manning the rails in their dress uniforms.

060911-N-0191T-016- San Antonio at NY- 11Sep06
Sailors on board San Antonio man the rails as the ship steams past Ground Zero. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony C. Tornetta U.S. Navy Photograph 060911-N-0191T-016, 11 September 2006, Photos)

On 8 January 2009 the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) established Combined Task Force 151, a multinational task force to conduct counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. San Antonio was designated the command ship under Rear Adm. Terence "Terry" McKnight the task force commander.

090112-N-7918H-499- San Antonio in Gulf of Aden-12Jan09
San Antonio, command ship for Combined Task Force 151, transits the Gulf of Aden while conducting counter-piracy operations. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John K. Hamilton, U.S. Navy Photograph 090112-N-7918H-499, 12 January 2009, Photos)

San Antonio along with the multipurpose amphibious assault ship Wasp (LHD-1), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, and the dock landing ship Carter Hall (LSD-5), based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va., returned to their homeports on 12 November 2012 after a sortie to the New York/New Jersey coast following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Sailors from all three ships, and embarked marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), provided support throughout the affected region. They assisted with repair of the Hoboken Ferry Terminal and the Sandy Hook Coast Guard Station; emergency clearance and restoration efforts in Staten Island, N.Y., and New Jersey’s Barrier Islands; dewatering efforts at Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Staten Island, Ellis Island, and at locations in the vicinity of the World Trade Center Memorial. The ships also served as landing platforms for U.S. Coast Guard helicopters conducting search and rescue operations.

121031-N-YZ298-031-San Antonio departing Norfolk for Sandy relief- 31Oct12
San Antonio departing Naval Station Norfolk to better position Navy assets to provide relief to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. (James DeAngio, U.S. Navy photograph 121031-N-YZ298-031; 31 October 2012; Photos)

On 7 March 2013, San Antonio received her second consecutive Battle Efficiency, or Battle “E,” award under the leadership of commanding officer Cmdr. Neil Koprowski. That award was a tribute to the ship’s overall readiness and was determined by a yearlong evaluation of San Antonio’s accomplishments during training exercises and various command inspections. “Winning the Battle ‘E’ for the second year in a row shows the Navy as a whole that high levels of operational readiness [are] attainable and maintainable,” said Capt. Brad Skillman, the commodore of Amphibious Squadron Four. “Capt. Koprowski and his crew are the standard-bearers for the rest of the fleet and I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.”  San Antonio deployed as part of the Kearsarge (LHD-3) Amphibious Ready Group with embarked leathernecks from the 26th MEU supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas of responsibility.

San Antonio arrived in Haifa, Israel, on 4 September 2013 for a routine port visit. Sailors and marines had the opportunity to explore the city and take tours to historic locations to experience the history and culture of Israel.

150612-N-HX127-135- San Antonio-BALTOPS 2015-
San Antonio and other amphibious assault ships participating in exercise Baltic Operations 2015 transit in formation off the coast of Sweden. (Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Timothy M. Ahearn; U.S. Navy Photograph 150612-N-HX127-135; 12 June 2015; Photos)

Detailed history pending.

Christopher B. Havern Sr.

30 September 2015

Published: Thu Jan 14 13:53:00 EST 2016