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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Okinawa (LPH-3)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Oscar - Kilo - India
JANAP Tactical Voice Call Sign (1967) "Gallant Man"
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (2) - Navy Unit Commendation (5)
Second Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3) - Navy Battle "E" Ribbon - Navy Expeditionary Medal (Cuba, Iran/Indian Ocean)
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Op. Eagle Pull, Op. Frequent Wind, Persian Gulf) - *Vietnam Service Medal (7 or 8)
Fourth Row - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Humanitarian Service Medal (Eagle Pull, Frequent Wind) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation
Fifth Row - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (5) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbons - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Iwo Jima Class Amphibious Assault Ship (Helicopter):
  • Laid down, 1 April 1960, at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Launched, 19 August 1961
  • Commissioned USS Okinawa (LPH-3), 14 April 1962, CAPT. William E. Lemos in command
  • During the Vietnam War Okinawa (LPH-3) participated in the following campaigns:

    Vietnam War Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    18 to 19 April 1967
    18 to 31 May 1967
    Sanctuary Counteroffensive
    25 to 28 June 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    1 to 12 June 1967
    27 June to 15 August 1967
    1 September to 1 November 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII
    15 to 18 July 1970
    23 to 27 July 1970
    9 to 12 August 1970
    8 to 10 September 1970
    12 to 15 September 1970
    4 to 9 October 1970
    5 to 6 November 1970
    23 to 27 May 1971
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI
    8 December 1968 to 26 January 1969
    12 to 22 February 1969
    Vietnam Ceasefire
    27 April to 30 May 1972
    9 June to 2 July 1972
    9 July to 25 August 1972
    29 September to 1 October 1972
    5 to 20 October 1972
    21 to 22 November 1972
    Tet/69 Counteroffensive
    23 February to 30 March 1969
    14 April to 27 May 1969
    *Vietnam Evacuation (Operation Frequent Wind)
    29 to 30 April 1975

  • Decommissioned and Struck from the Naval Register, 17 December 1992
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA
  • Transferred to Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility Bremerton in August 2000 for SINKEX preparation
  • Okinawa earned seven campaign stars for Vietnam War service and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Operation Frequent Wind or eight campaign stars for the Vietnam Service Medal if the Armed Forces Medal is exchanged for the 18th Vietnam campaign, Operation Frequent Wind
  • Final Disposition, sunk as a target, 06 June 2002, off the coast of southern California
    Displacement 11,000 t.(lt.), 18,474 t.(fl)
    Length 592'
    Beam 84'
    Flight Deck 105'
    Draft 27'
    Speed 22 kts.
    Complement 667
    Troop Accommodations 2,157
    Aircraft 25 helicopters
    (as built) 4 3"/50 AA guns
    (modifications) two Phalanx CIWS added
    two 600 psi boilers
    one geared steam turbine
    single shaft, 22,000 shaft horsepower

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    79k Okinawa (LPH-3) at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA. just prior to her christening ceremony and launching, 19 August 1961. Dale Hargrave
    226k Mrs. John L. McClellan, wife of the Senator from Arkansas christens Okinawa (LPH-3) during the ship's launching at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA. 19 August 1961. Dale Hargrave
    Okinawa 329k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way, mid-1962, showing the original armament of four 3"/50 mounts. Also of note are the original circular helicopter landing spots on her flight deck
    US Navy photo.
    Robert Hurst
    193k USS Mississinewa (AO-144) refuels USS Okinawa (LPH-3) and the repair ship USS Vulcan (AR-5), in 1962. About seven Sikorsky UH-34D Seahorse helicopters and two Sikorsky CH-37C Mojaves are visible on Okinawa's flight deck.
    U.S. Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine December 1962, p. 15
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 365k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) drydocked at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in February 1963. Ships in the background may be USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and and the decommissioned unmodified Essex class aircraft carrier USS Tarawa (CV-40).
    US National Archives Photo Identified # 18497387 A US Navy photo from the Public Affairs Office, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
    Michael Mohl
    81k A Sikorsky UH-34D Seahorse belonging to Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (HMM-263), taking off carrying a 106mm RR from the flight deck of USS Okinawa (LPH-3) in April 1964.
    Photos from the William C. Reed Collection (COLL/5634) at the Archives Branch, Marine Corps History Division. OFFICIAL USMC PHOTOGRAPH licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Images were originally posted to Flickr by Archives Branch, USMC History Division at and
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 129k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way off NOB Norfolk , VA., 20 July 1964 © Richard Leonhardt
    Okinawa 32k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way as a unit of Task Force 124 during Operation Power Pack enroute to the Dominican Republic in April 1965 with HMM-263 aboard. Okinawa was the hospital ship and HMM-263 was the Medevac Squadron during the U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965  
    Okinawa 82k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way in 1965, with her Marine Corps detachment and CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters on deck in 1965, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 179k USS Okinawa (LPH-3), 17 February 1966, after completing a trial following a refit at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Okinawa is turning off the Delaware River into the shipyard.
    ©Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, George D. McDowell Collection.
    Mike Green
    290k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) outbound San Diego, date unknown.
    ©George Barber
    Nicholas Tiberio
    203k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway off San Diego, date unknown.
    ©George Barber
    Nicholas Tiberio
    Okinawa 267k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way, circa late 1960s, location unknown.
    Courtesy Ray D. Bean Collection.
    Yu Chu
    Okinawa 114k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way circa 1970, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert Hurst
    106k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) crewmen hose off an HMM-163 UH-34 Seahorse that crashed on deck during Operation Ballistic Charge, 13 October 1967.
    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Identifier 26389621. USMC photo A189428 by SSGT R.V. Ashley.
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 4321k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way during Apollo 15 recovery operations in 1971. Tom Sparkman, CDR, USNR-Ret.
    257k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway as the Apollo 15 Lunar Recovery Ship, circa 26 July 26 – 7 August 1971. Nicholas Tiberio
    213k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway outbound from San Diego, Point Loma in the background. ©George Barber Nicholas Tiberio
    Okinawa 60k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way on Yankee Station off the coast of Vietnam, circa May/June 1972. The aircraft aboard Okinawa belonged to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron HMM-164. Photo taken from St. Louis (LKA-116) Photo by Patrick Doyle, 9th Motor Transport Bn, 4th Marines
    Okinawa 64k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) receives a double probe rig from USNS Kawishiwi (T-AO-146) as they prepare for an underway fuel replenishment, date and place unknown. Photo by Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Okinawa 68k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) in the Gulf of Siam during Operation Eagle Pull, 11 to 13 April 1975 conducting an underway replenishment with USS Vega (AF-59). Photo by Richard Spring, CMDCM(SW/AW) USN Ret.
    Okinawa 27k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) in the Gulf of Siam during Operation Eagle Pull, 11 to 13 April 1975 conducting the evacuation of US nationals and at-risk Cambodians by helicopter.
    Photo by CAPT. R. Scott Noble, USNR (Retired) from USS Edson (DD-946)
    Joan L. Cahill
    Okinawa 16k
    Okinawa 140k At the start of Operation Eagle Pull on 12 April 1975, a CH-53 Sea Stallion of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH-462) lifts off from USS Okinawa (LPH-3) to withdraw U.S. security forces and American Civilians from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Seventeen days later, the squadron and ship evacuated Americans from Saigon, South Vietnam, in operation Frequent Wind.
    US Marine Corps photo.
    Tommy Trampp
    Okinawa 117k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) off the coast of South Vietnam, 18 April 1975. On deck are Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH-462).
    US Marine Corps photo # A150855 from: "U.S. Marines in Vietnam. The War that Would not End 1973-1975 (part 7)", p. 144.
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 102k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way off Okinawa in 1977.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Okinawa 74k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way in the Pacific, August 1979.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Okinawa 348k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "Aircraft Carriers" by Norman Polmar.
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 1194k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway with embarked Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 262 during 31st Marine Amphibious Unit's Kangaroo 4 (1981) exercise.
    DOD photo # DM-SN-82-03149 PACIFIC OCEAN (14 October 1981) a US Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Taylor, now in the collections of Defense
    Robert M. Cieri
    203k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway in the Philippines Islands with 31st Marine Amphibious Unit embarked. 1 August 1982.
    USMC Photo by CPL S.L. Kaeter, DoDMedia
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 108k USS Okinawa (LPH-3), returning to San Diego in 1984 from a Mini-Westpac Cruise, her first cruise after a year in drydock when the Phalanx system was installed.
    US Navy photo
    Jerry Hays
    156k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) moored at Dammam, Saudi Arabia in 1987 during a routine port visit. Chuck Wagner
    206k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) moored at Dammam, Saudi Arabia in 1987 during a routine port visit. On the flight deck are HM-14 Det 1, RH-53D Sea Stallion minesweeping helicopters. Chuck Wagner
    269k View of USS Okinawa (LPH-3) superstructure and bridge area while moored at Dammam, Saudi Arabia in 1987 during a routine port visit. Chuck Wagner
    220k View of USS Okinawa (LPH-3) Phalanx CIWS (close-in weapon system) while moored at Dammam, Saudi Arabia in 1987 during a routine port visit. Chuck Wagner
    175k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway in the Persian Gulf, 1 September 1987.
    U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: DN-ST-88-02160, a U.S. Navy photo by PH1 Harold Gerwein, USN.
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 56k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) at anchor in Hong Kong Harbor, 1989 William Chiu
    Okinawa 64k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) at anchor in Hong Kong Harbor, 1989 William Chiu
    Okinawa 122k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) under way at San Diego as she heads out to sea, date unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    641k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway in the harbor at San Diego, CA., date unknown.
    ©George Barber
    Nicholas Tiberio
    243k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) crew man the rails as the ship passes through San Diego Bay enroute to Naval Base San Diego, 1 May 1990.
    U.S. Navy Photo, U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: DN-SC-04-03400
    Robert Hurst
    143k The large harbor tug Wauwatosa (YTB-775) assists USS Okinawa (LPH-3) into her berth as she arrivess at Naval Station Subic Bay, Luzon, P.I., 24 March 1991. Okinawa was enroute to her homeport at San Dioego, CA. after completing her deployment to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
    U.S. Navy photo by PH2 Muscutt, U.S National Archives and Records Administreiaont, College Park, MD. Donated by the Digital Public Library of America. DPLA identifier: : 73522b39c2449eceb4ca9d1aaf8754fd National Archives Identifier: 6468575.
    Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 221k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) underway in the Southern California Ops area, date unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Okinawa 1061k Sailors and Marines man the rail aboard USS Okinawa (LPH-3) during the her arrival from deployment in the Persian Gulf area during Operation Desert Storm, 17 April 1991. Okinawa is steaming past downtown San Diego, enroute to her homeport at Naval Station San Diego.
    DOD photo # DN-SN-92-01074 SAN DIEGO BAY (17 April 1991) a US Navy photos by JO1 Robert Wilson, now in the collections of Defense
    Robert M. Cieri
    223k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) at anchor in the Persian Gulf, with an LCM landing craft alongside, 1 March 1992. Crew members from Okinawa and other vessels were taking part in Exercise "Eager Mace 92-1", the first major U.S./Kuwaiti combined service exercise since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
    U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: DN-ST-93-04416.
    Robert Hurst
    144k USS Okinawa (LPH-3) decommissioning ceremony, 17 December 1992, at Naval Station San Diego, CA. Dale Hargrave
    Okinawa 74k Ex-USS Okinawa (LPH-3) inboard of ex-USS New Orleans (LPH-11) moored together at the end of a multi-ship row at Suisun Bay. Photo by Carolyn Bonner. Photo from "Warship Boneyards" by Kit and Carolyn Bonner. Robert Hurst
    Okinawa 41k Ex-Okinawa (LPH-3), sunk as target by USS Portsmouth (SSN-707), 6 June 2002. Location: 031° 27' 00.0" North, 119° 42' 00.6" West. Depth: 2020 fathoms. Tonnage: 13000.
    Fabio Peña

    USS Okinawa (LPH-3) Memorabilia
    Commissioning Program
    (Cover Only)
    Contributed by
    Robert M. Cieri
    Decommissioning Program
    (Cover Only)
    Contributed by
    Robert M. Cieri
    Apollo 15 Commemorative Patch
    Contributed by
    Lee-Jackson Militaria
    Contributed by Tommy Trampp
    Contributed by
    Chuck Wagner

    For more photos and information about USS Okinawa, see:
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • USS Iwo Jima Class Association
  • Welcome Aboard Pamphlet (1986-1988)

  • Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Lemos, William Edward, USN :RADM14 April 1962 - March 1963
    02CAPT. Sweeney Sr., John Richard, USN (USNA 1938)March 1963 - 20 March 1964
    03CAPT. McDonald, Maxwell D., USN20 March 1964 - 19 March 1965
    04CAPT. Evans, Jack Lavelle, USN19 March 1965 - February 1966
    05CAPT. Feightner, Edward Lewis, USN :RADM (Photo as RADM) February 1966 - March 1967
    06CAPT. Alexander II, William Henry, USN (USNA 1944)March 1967 - February 1968
    07CAPT. Mackey Sr., William Alex (Wam), USN23 February 1968 - 25 February 1969
    08CAPT. Williams, Harlan Dale, USN25 February 1969 - April 1970
    09CAPT. Huff, Andrew French, USN25 April 1970 - 19 November 1971
    10CAPT. Scott, Wiley Anthony, USN19 November 1971 - July 1973
    11CAPT. Salin, Robert Sven, USNJuly 1973 - November 1974
    12CAPT. Moore, Charles J., USN :RADMNovember 1974 - 12 June 1976
    13CAPT. Suzan, Frank M., USN12 June 1976 - October 1977
    14CAPT. Boland, Bruce Raymond, USN :RADM October 1977 - 15 June 1979
    15CAPT. Zirbel, William R., USN15 June 1979 - 30 December 1980
    16CAPT. Rogers, David Neil, USN :RADM30 December 1980 - 9 March 1983
    17CAPT. Newman, Roger Lee, USN 9 March 1983 - 18 January 1985
    18CAPT. Terry, William Edward, USN :RADM18 January 1985 - 17 July 1986
    19CAPT. Durbin Jr., James L., USN17 July 1986 - 22 April 1988
    20CAPT. Murphy, Andrew Joseph, USN (USNA 1964)22 April 1988 - 11 August 1989
    21CAPT. Thomas Jr., Mack A., USN11 August 1989 - 12 January 1991
    22CAPT. Wikstrom, Raymond M., USN 12 January 1991 - 17 December 1992
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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