USS Whidbey Island Visits Savannah

The USS Whidbey Island, LSD-41 arrived in Savannah late last week for St. Patrick’s Day.  This morning while taking a walk in Downtown Savannah and along River Street, I took some photos of the ship.

The Whidbey Island is an interesting visitor because Savannah usually gets ships such as destroyers, frigates, or cruisers.   While not as glamorous as warships such as the destroyers, frigates, and cruisers that usually visit Savannah, ships such as the Whidbey Island are important parts of the military’s power projection ability.  Commissioned in 1985, Whidbey Island was the first in its class of ships and was the first ship designed to work with LCACs, the Navy’s air cushion (hovercraft) landing craft.  As the first ship designed to work with LCACs, it assisted with operational and developmental testing of the LCAC in 1985 and 1986.  In February of this year, she returned from a 10 1/2 month deployment with the USMC 22nd MEU, visiting 8 countries in the US Navy 5th and 6th Fleet areas (explaining the exterior appearance which my father, a 20 year Navy veteran was quick to point out when he saw my photos).

USS Whidbey Island, LSD-41 docked at Georgia Ports Authority on the Savannah River, 19 March 2012
Ship's boat from the USS Whidbey Island patrolling around the ship, 19 March 2012
Closer view of the USS Whidbey Island's stern. Note the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile mount upper center and the Phalanx CIWS upper right for point defense against air/missile threats.

It was a wonderful morning to take a walk, the temperature was still mild and there was a nice breeze.  Just as I stepped down onto River Street, the sun was rising over the river.  It was a beautiful sight in contrast to the refuse and remains of St. Patrick’s day which city employees are still trying to clean up!

Sunrise over River Street, 19 March 2012
Moran tug James A. Moran moving down the Savannah River, 19 March 2012

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