US Navy held a decommissioning ceremony for Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) on July 22 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story before being deactivated next month.
As reported, the ship’s decommissioning ceremony took place on the quay wall next to the USS Whidbey Island at anchor. Nine of his former commanders attended the ceremony. The ship was in active service for almost 38 years.
Whidbey Island was commissioned on February 9, 1985 at Lockheed Shipyard in Seattle. The ship is named after Whidbey Island, the largest of the islands that make up Island County.
The first ship of a class designed specifically to interface with the Air Cushion Landing Craft (LCAC), assisted in the operational and developmental testing of the amphibious assault vehicle in July–September 1985 and again in May–July 1986.
In August 1986, the ship launched its first major operation, participating in NATO exercise Northern Wedding/Bold Guard ’86.
In January 1987 it made its first deployment in the Mediterranean. During that time, the ship participated in seven amphibious exercises and performed duties as the Presidential Support Ship for the World Economic Summit in Venice, Italy, in 1987.
During the ’92-’93 deployment, USS Whidbey Island made historic port calls to Samsun, Turkey, Constanta, Romania, and Burgas, Bulgaria.
Its passage to these port calls made it the first US amphibious ship and the largest US warship to operate in the Black Sea. The ship returned to homeport on June 5, 1993.
More recently, in 2016, USS Whidbey Island was deployed from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for her final deployment.
The ship conducted eight theater security port visits. In July 2016, USS Whidbey Island transited the Bosphorus Straits at a time of tension following Turkey’s failed coup attempt in 2016.