US Navy press release
The future USS Fallujah will commemorate the First and Second Battles of Fallujah, American-led offensives during the Iraq War. The name selection follows the tradition of naming amphibious assault ships after U.S. Marine Corps battles, early U.S. sailing ships, or legacy names of earlier carriers from World War II.
“It is an honor to memorialize the Marines, Soldiers, and coalition partners that fought valiantly and those that sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah. This namesake deserves to be in the pantheon of iconic Marine Corps battles and the LHA’s unique capabilities will serve as a stark reminder to everyone around the world of the bravery, courage, and commitment to freedom displayed by those who fought in the battle.”
Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the US Navy
The First Battle of Fallujah occurred in April 2004 in an effort to capture or kill insurgents responsible for the killing of four U.S. contractors. The Second Battle of Fallujah, fought between Nov. 7 and Dec. 23, 2004, was a major U.S.-led offensive to retake control of the city from insurgents and foreign fighters. With over 100 coalition forces killed and over 600 wounded, Operation Phantom Fury is considered the bloodiest engagement of the Iraq War and the fiercest urban combat involving U.S. Marines since the Vietnam War’s Battle of Hue City.
“Under extraordinary odds, the Marines prevailed against a determined enemy who enjoyed all the advantages of defending in an urban area. The Battle of Fallujah is, and will remain, imprinted in the minds of all Marines and serves as a reminder to our Nation, and its foes, why our Marines call themselves the world’s finest.”
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger
Along with the ship’s name, Del Toro announced the sponsor for the future USS Fallujah as Mrs. Donna Berger, who, in her role, will represent a lifelong relationship with the ship and crew.
Donna Berger is not only the spouse of Gen. David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps, but also an avid advocate and mentor for military families.
America-class amphibious assault ships are designed to support Marine Corps Operational Maneuver From the Sea and Ship to Objective Maneuvers. The America-class ships replaced all of the decommissioned Tarawa-class LHAs and are now optimized for aviation ability, accommodating the Marine Corps’ future Air Combat Element while adding additional aviation maintenance capabilities and increasing fuel capacities, and extra cargo storage. With the unique inherent powers of the amphibious assault ships, they are often called upon to also support humanitarian and other contingency missions upon short notice.
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Naval News comments
The America-class is a class of 45,000 tons landing helicopter assault (LHA) type amphibious assault ship meant to replace the Tarawa-class able to carry 1060 crew members with an embarkation up to 1650 Marines. Eleven America-class ships are planned.
They can be deploy about 30 aircraft such as F-35B Joint Strike Fighters; AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters; UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters; CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters; MV-22 Osprey; MH-60S Search and Rescue helicopters.
The first two ships in the class have no well deck for amphibious warfare, they are dedicated to air operations. The next five will feature a well deck, allowing the operation of landing craft such as LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion) and LCU (Landing Craft Utility) but slightly reducing the space for aircraft on board.
- Displacement: 45000 tons
- Length: 257m
- Beam: 32m
- Speed: 20 knots
- Propulsion: 2 gas turbine developing 52000 KW and 2 auxiliary engines (3700 KW)
- Defensive weapons systems include .50 caliber machine guns, Phalanx and RAM close in weapon systems, Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles and decoy launchers.